Wal-Mart opens first on-site solar plants in Hawaii

Wal-Mart Stores and SunEdison have announced completion of the first of four solar power systems in Hawaii as part of a pilot programme of on-site renewables on the islands. The 283 kW DC solar power system at the Sam’s Club, Honolulu, was financed, built and will be maintained for Wal-Mart by SunEdison under a solar power services agreement.

This rooftop system is part of a major purchase of solar power services from SunEdison and other solar power providers for approximately 22 Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centres in Hawaii and California. Additional Hawaii locations to be installed in 2008 will include Wal-Mart stores in Mililani and Pearl City on Oahu and in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

During the first full year of production, the rooftop system will produce more than 440 MWh of solar electricity.

Wal-Mart is currently testing on-site renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar power generation, in its experimental stores in McKinney, Texas and Aurora, Colorado. Along with the experience from these stores, the company will use the results of the Hawaii pilot project and its solar power purchase to explore how to move forward with solar power generation at additional Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Clubs, and distribution centres.

‘Wal-Mart’s decision to use renewable energy proves zero-emission solutions are viable right now, and that solar power is clearly part of the energy mix. We at SunEdison are here for the long term, to support Wal-Mart in reducing its electric bills and helping lower greenhouse gas emissions immediately and for decades to come,’ added Thomas Rainwater, CEO of SunEdison.

Last year, SunEdison won a solar services provider bid to develop solar energy systems for four Wal-Mart store locations in Hawaii. Under the solar power services agreement, the company will sell all of the energy produced by the systems to Wal-Mart, as well as operate and maintain the systems. The upfront capital investment is made by SunEdison. Wal-Mart will benefit from receiving all of the renewable energy credits associated with the energy output of the systems.

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