Walmart makes big commitments to solar energy


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

The retail giant has state plans to add 1 GW of on-site clean energy such as solar and energy storage by the end of 2030. Walmart has also taken on a role as a community solar investor and has a plan to add 2 GW of these types of 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 stated commitments 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 over 600 on- and off-site projects in operation or under development across 10 countries.

Two deals

One way corporations like Walmart secure more renewable energy in their portfolio is through direct power purchase agreements (PPA) with solar developers. The company recently announced it entered into a 15-year PPA for a project in development in Texas.

Walmart signed on for 162 MW of a 180 MW solar PPA with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA). EDPR NA is among Texas’ leading renewable energy developers and operators, with over 1.2 GW of installed utility-scale renewable capacity across the state that generates 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 in development across the U.S., 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- 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 array. 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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