Wal-Mart Puts Plentiful Sunshine to Work

John Davis

walmartmexicoSomething we could learn from our neighbors to the south. Wal-Mart Mexico is making good use of that country’s plentiful supply of sunshine as the company has put in a large solar panel array on a roof that will provide a large amount of energy for that store.

A company press release says the photovoltaic complex of more than 1,056 solar panels on the Bodega Aurrera Aguascalientes will generate 20% of the energy used by the store. With its 174 kW capacity, it is the largest photovoltaic complex in Latin America, according to the Mexican Solar Energy Association (ANES):

“This is the first large-scale project to generate energy using photovoltaic panels, not only for Wal-Mart Mexico, but for Wal-Mart International. This puts Mexico at the head of the energy field. The project reinforces our commitment to obtain all the energy the company requires from renewable sources by 2025”, said Raul Arguelles, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs and People Division at Wal-Mart Mexico.

The 1,056 solar or photovoltaic panels were installed in 2,173.5 square meters, the equivalent of half the roof of Bodega Aurrera Convencion in Aguascalientes.

Gustavo Tellez Giron, CEO for Water Capital, a company with whom Wal-Mart Mexico worked to install the photovoltaic complex said, “this is a one-of-a-kind project, and its success will allow this technology to be used in many similar situations. The project will result in significant energy savings and environmental benefits.

The project is expected to remove 140 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. It’s part of Wal-Mart Mexico’s plan to have 100 percent renewable energy sources and no water discharges by 2025 and provide a 25 percent increase in eco-friendly item catalog by 2012.

Imagine if all Wal-Marts north of the border did this. While it might not work every day in every location, think about the number of days these big ol’ Supercenters with a roof full of photovoltaic cells could be off the grid… generating their own power.