About 20 people gathered at our supercenter in Walpole, Mass., yesterday – among them the state’s Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia, Walmart associates, community members, business leaders, and interns from the Environmental League of Massachusetts – to celebrate the completion of eight solar installations across the state.
“This site is one of the first in Massachusetts to use solar energy to help power the store,” said Chris Buchanan, public affairs director for Walmart. “It’s one of more than 280 such projects underway across the country that are moving Walmart toward our goal of being powered 100 percent by renewable energy.”
A few visitors, including Commissioner Sylvia, were invited to ride a scissor lift to the roof for a firsthand view of the new panels. “Investments from business leaders like Walmart have helped the Commonwealth meet our 250-megawatt solar goal four years early and earn the No. 1 national ranking in energy efficiency two years in a row,” Sylvia said in his remarks.
George Bachrach, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, which received a $30,000 award from the Walmart Foundation to support educational programs, said “these are teachable moments for young people to learn practical methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Store associates shared in the enthusiasm, and the bakery department prepared a special cake in the shape of the store, complete with solar panels on the roof, so it could hand out slices to customers.
Under a power purchase agreement, Greenskies installed and owns the panels, selling the energy to Walmart at an agreed upon rate. “Working on this and other Massachusetts solar installations with Walmart has been a great experience for us,” said Andrew Chester of Greenskies.
Combined, the eight new solar systems across the state will produce more than 2.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in the first year alone. These stores will save a total of approximately 1,484 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) annually – roughly the equivalent of taking 309 cars off the road.*
Notably, a similar store in Lunenburg, Mass., marked Walmart’s 200th solar installation when it went into operation earlier this year. Walmart also recently celebrated new projects in Hawaii and Ohio.
* According to the EPA calculator