Solar Briefing: Walmart Plans Arrays for 75% of Calif. Stores

by | Sep 23, 2011

Walmart plans to complete rooftop solar arrays on more than three quarters of its California stores, with projects planned for up to 60 locations.

The planned projects will bring Walmart’s total number of solar installations in California to 130. Each array will provide 20 to 30 percent of the store’s electric needs, the company says.

When complete, the installations are expected to generate up to 70 million kWh of renewable energy per year, the equivalent of powering more than 5,400 homes and avoid more than 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity will own, install and maintain the new solar power systems.

Walmart says its solar program has reduced energy expenses by more than $1 million.

In other solar news, Walgreens is today unveiling its 100th solar installation, at its Mason, Ohio location. This week Walgreens also revealed that it has signed a contract with SoCore Energy for 90 solar installations in Ohio. The first 20 of these projects began earlier this month at stores in Cincinnati, and the first 53 will be completed by November 11.

With the Ohio installations, the drugstore chain says it is on target to complete the nation’s largest retail solar rollout, with more than 130 sites projected for the end of this year.

SoCore has chosen Power-One as its exclusive provider of inverters for these projects. SolarWorld will supply thousands of 240-watt crystalline silicon panels, for a total of 2 MW of power.

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority in May provided a $5.2 million loan to SoCore for development of the 53 rooftop solar systems across the state. The remainder of the project’s $9.9 million cost is being funded by SoCore and a federal solar tax credit. Walgreens will lease the arrays from SoCore for 10 years.

Ikea has completed its 11th U.S. solar energy array, plugging in the system at its Emeryville, Calif. store. The 68,000 square foot, 538 kW PV array consists of about 2,394 panels. Gloria Solar installed the system using its own solar modules.

Ikea expects the array to produce about 760,300 kWh a year, reducing CO2 emissions by 578 tons. It is planning solar power systems for one more location in California, as well as for eight stores in the eastern U.S.

Indianapolis International Airport has selected ET Energy Solutions, a joint venture between local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions, Schmidt Associates, and Telamon Corporation, to develop a 41,000-panel solar farm on 60 acres of airport property. ET will finance, design, construct, and operate the facility on land leased from the IAA. Sanyo will provide panels and assist with arranging financing.

Weather permitting, construction could start in Q4 2011, with the system expected to become operational starting in mid-2012.

The solar farm is expected to produce more than 15 million kWh a year and prevent about 10,700 tons of CO2 emissions. Real-time output data will be available to the public.

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