Trivia question: What state provided the inspiration for the song, “America the Beautiful”?
The Centennial State’s “beautiful, for spacious skies” are now being protected by six new solar projects constructed by SolarCity in partnership with Walmart
These solar-powered stores are expected to generate 3 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy each year, which is enough to power more than 225 homes, according to the EPA calculator. The projects will keep more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, create local jobs, and ultimately help Walmart reduce its carbon footprint.
With the six stores – three in the cities of Westminster and one each in Lakewood, Highlands Ranch and Lafayette – Walmart reaches the milestone of 100 solar-power installations on U.S. stores, clubs and distribution centers, and moves the company closer to its long-term goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for all its U.S. retail and distribution sites. SolarCity and Walmart have now completed more than 75 solar projects, with 49 more in progress.
Speaking of sun rays, Katharine Lee Bates, the English teacher who wrote the first draft of her lyrics to “America the Beautiful” in 1893, did so while overlooking the Great Plains, standing atop the Rockies’ Pike’s Peak, which is within 125 miles of all six newly solarized Walmart stores.
SolarCity’s history with Walmart dates back to 2010 when it was selected to install solar systems on 20 to 30 sites in California and Arizona. Last fall, Walmart tripled the scale of this partnership by inviting SolarCity to install solar on 60 additional California stores.
SolarCity, which has operations centers in Denver and Parker, Colo., installed the systems for free and will own and maintain them through power purchase agreements. Walmart will only pay for the clean power produced at a rate at or below the current cost of electricity from the utility. Walmart’s leadership in adopting solar energy has proven that this model can work on a large scale and will hopefully encourage other companies to switch to solar.
In addition to installing solar on homes and businesses from coast to coast, SolarCity has also installed solar atop hundreds of schools, churches, affordable housing units and military housing communities, giving nonprofits and large corporations alike the opportunity to pay less for clean, renewable energy than they currently pay for electricity. All of this creates jobs, too.
And we think that is a beautiful thing.
Toby Corey is SolarCity’s chief revenue officer. He also serves on the board of directors of WildlifeDirect.org, Richard Leakey’s African Conservation Foundation, and NorCal Telehealth, an organization that provides health education to underserved communities.