Walmart makes big commitments to solar energy


From pv magazine USA

Walmart has advanced its commitment to renewable energy by announcing two large deals to deploy both utility-scale and community-scale solar in numerous locations across the United States.

The retail giant has said it plans to add 1 GW of on-site clean energy such as solar and energy storage by the end of 2030. It has also taken on a role as a community solar investor and plans to add 2 GW of such projects, which typically enable electric ratepayers to subscribe to a portion of an off-site solar project.

“The role we play in our communities provides us with a tremendous opportunity to help people transition to clean energy in a way that also helps them save money and live better,” said Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president, energy transformation for Walmart.

In addition to the on-site and off-site community-scale solar, Walmart has vowed to add 10 GW of clean energy capacity by the end of 2030, or enough power for the equivalent of about 2 million households. It currently has more than 600 on-site and off-site projects in operation or under development across 10 countries.

One way corporations like Walmart secure more renewable energy in their portfolios is through direct power purchase agreements (PPA) with solar developers. Walmart recently said it signed a 15-year PPA for a project under development in Texas.

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Walmart signed on for 162 MW of a 180 MW solar PPA with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA). EDPR NA is among the leading renewable energy developers and operators in Texas. It has more than 1.2 GW of installed utility-scale renewable capacity across the state, generating electricity equivalent to the consumption of more than 236,000 average Texan homes.

The 180 MW project is expected to generate millions in lease payments to the project’s landowners, and an estimated $42 million to local governments, benefiting schools, local infrastructure, and other public services. Construction of the project is expected to create 300 jobs.

Walmart also recently announced a partnership with Pivot Energy to invest in 19 solar projects under development across the United States., including 15 community solar projects. The tax equity investment will support the construction, operation, and maintenance of solar projects in Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, and California.

The investment from Walmart will facilitate 72 MW of community solar projects, 41 MW of which are located in Colorado and designed to serve low-income and moderate-income homes. The community solar projects are expected to be completed in 2024 and 2025, serving an estimated 7,000 households and creating an estimated $6 million in annual savings for subscribers to the projects.

Several of the Pivot Energy projects will be dual-use agrivolatics projects, producing crops beneath the solar arrays. Drip irrigation will be installed among the arrays, with crops growing between the rows. Pivot Energy said it also plans to support sheep grazing and habitat enhancement services at some of the project sites.

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