Walmart brings the sun in Maryland with SolarCity

Walmart Solar Installation

A SolarCity installation on a Walmart. Courtesy SolarCity.Eight of Maryland’s Walmart stores, and two of its Sams Clubs now have solar installed under a partnership with SolarCity. It’s the latest development as the world’s largest retailer seeks to become 100 percent renewably powered.

Under the partnership, SolarCity has installed more than 3.1 megawatts of accumulative solar power on Walmart stores in Maryland. The installations are on stores in Arbutus, Berlin, California, Cockeysville, Fallston, Hagerstown, Laurel and Severn, as well as on Sam’s Club stores in Salisbury and Severn. The installations will provide between 5 percent and 20 percent of each store’s planned electric use, according to Solar City.

“Building a clean energy economy creates new jobs and provides affordable, reliable clean energy choices for businesses,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “The partnership between SolarCity and Walmart shows that we’re taking the right steps.”

Still, Walmart is in a steep race with other retailers to become more green. For instance, Walgreens recently announced plans to install solar on 200 more stores in the near future, bringing its total number of solar stores up to more than 350. Meanwhile Kohl’s continues to top the EPA’s Green Power Partnership’s list of top 20 retailers using renewable energy, since it sources all of its energy from renewable sources.

Still, Walmart’s not slacking. It has already installed solar at more than 100 stores in California alone and is installing solar at stores in states across the country, including in Arizona—where it’s largest installation is—and Colorado, for instance. “This new series of solar systems in Maryland bring the total number of Walmart and Sam’s Club locations with SolarCity installations to almost 150 across multiple states with additional locations in the works,” SolarCity said.

“Walmart is a leader in clean energy here in Maryland and across the country,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “Walmart is setting an example for companies in Maryland to follow; it’s possible for many Maryland businesses to pay less for solar power than they currently pay for electricity.”

“Solar power makes sense for Walmart, and it makes sense for Maryland,” said David Ozment, Walmart’s senior director of energy. “We are committed to increasing the use of renewable energy, including solar panels, at our stores in Maryland and throughout the country.” Walmart is continuing to build out is solar and renewable energy strategy, which includes wind farms in Mexico. The company said it has more than 300 renewable energy projects in operation or under development globally and it plans to install solar on at least 1,000 U.S. stores by 2020, maybe it will have more PV than Walgreens after all.