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Walmart funds almost 1 gigawatt in new U.S. solar power

Half the power needed by the world’s largest retailer now comes from clean energy projects.

Walmart solar

Source: Walmart

Walmart is funding almost two dozen new community solar projects and three long-term purchase agreements that will add almost 1 gigawatt of zero-carbon energy to the U.S. grid. That’s roughly enough energy to power 750,000 U.S. homes.

The new installations include Walmart’s first investments in projects for Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi — almost half the amount in the new contracts. They are in addition to the more than 600 onsite and offsite renewable energy projects the retailer has supported in the past, representing 2 more gigawatts in clean electricity generation.

Walmart’s goal, announced in January, is to add 10 gigawatts of clean energy globally by 2030.

Half of Walmart’s power is renewable

Walmart is not the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy — that distinction goes to Amazon — but the collective impact of these contracts is substantial. As of February 2023 Walmart was the 11th on the most recent list curated by Bloomberg, which is dominated by technology companies. It, along with rival retailer Target, is routinely ranked among the top five U.S. corporations using onsite solar.  

Collectively, corporations signed contracts for 46 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable electricity globally in 2023, according to research by BloombergNEF. Even if these companies don’t directly use the power from these plants, they can take credit for the zero-carbon electricity in their emissions accounting. As of calendar year 2022, 47 percent of Walmart’s annual electricity needs came from renewable power.

Since 2008, corporations have announced power purchase agreements for at least 198 gigawatts of solar and wind power.

Local impact, taxes and jobs

Walmart is talking up the potential impact of the new projects to create jobs, provide new local tax income and provide lower-cost solar subscriptions for communities that typically don’t have access to renewable power options. Its new contracts with developer NextEra Energy Resources, for example, could bring an estimated $190 million in new tax revenue to Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, Walmart says.

The contracts also cover 15 community solar projects being developed by Pivot Energy in five states — California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois and Maryland — through a tax equity investment. The combined capacity of those projects is 72 megawatts, enough to cover the equivalent of more than 7,000 homes. Construction is slated for 2024 and 2025.

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