sites in are about to go thanks to . The combination of ground-mounted solar systems and rooftop solar is going to total 23 MW. Construction is expected to begin early in 2019.

SunPower: A Leader in the Solar Industry

SunPower is a company that holds the title as the leading high-efficiency PV maker in the nation. On top of this, it has developed commercial and utility-scale solar projects while being a prominent name in the residential solar sector, too.

SunPower has started to intensify its focus on smaller-scale solar installations, as it has somewhat moved away from large-scale solar projects after abandoning utility-scale project development. SunPower has become the fourth biggest residential solar installer in the California market.

Next up: Walmart. SunPower has made a deal to set up solar at two distribution centers for Walmart in Illinois as well as 19 Walmart stores. As mentioned, the rooftop solar combined with ground-mounted solar systems is going to total 23 MW. If you need help understanding the numbers, think of it like this – roughly 164 homes can be powered per MW, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Of course, this is dependent on electricity consumption, temperature and average sunshine.

SunPower and Walmart: A Bright Relationship

According to Mark Vanderhelm, vice president for at Walmart, solar is a critical component of the company’s ever-growing renewable energy portfolio.

SunPower is arranging a power purchase agreement through which Walmart will buy the electricity generated. Walmart will have ownership of the renewable energy credits linked with the system. Walmart has a goal to meet half of its electricity demand with renewable energy sources by the year 2025. These numbers are not far off, as Walmart was the third biggest purchaser of renewable energy in terms of large corporations as per a recent Rocky Mountain Institute report.

Even more impressive, Walmart intends to cut emissions in its international value chain by 2030, to the tune of one billion metric tons.

Are there potential changes for the renewable energy policy for Illinois? Possibly, as this is something both SunPower and Walmart have alluded to as a reason for this solar deal. Numerous components of the energy policy for Illinois were reformed last summer, such as its renewable energy credit system. According to some advocates of solar, these changes are leading to a solar boom out in Illinois.

As of the most recent count, Illinois only has 98 MW of solar online, according to . The new solar installations for Walmart are going to raise the installed solar capacity in Illinois by close to a quarter. The numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

Walmart: Lighting the Path for Other Companies

Perhaps the changes being made by Walmart will lead the way for other companies. There is an obvious shift toward renewable energy happening across the globe, and it is easy to see why. Solar is a clean source of energy, and it can save a great deal of money. Moreover, it is a better energy source for the planet. As mentioned by Vanderhelm, Walmart intends to continuously pursue renewable energy projects with the recognition that these projects are better for the environment, customers and business. SunPower is only helping to move in the right direction with these admirable goals.

The Illinois Solar Energy Association has a dedication to advancing solar on a local level, helping companies such as Walmart to recognize the environmental value and economic benefits of clean energy, in accordance with executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, Lesley McCain. In addition, projects like this are going to create jobs for the growing solar workforce in Illinois.

Think about how huge corporations could help to change the world by going solar. On a smaller scale, think about the differences using renewable energy could make in your community. Stay on top of solar news to be kept in the loop on the latest solar projects. They are interesting to learn about, to say the least!

Sources:

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/10/24/sunpower-to-install-solar-at-21-walmart-sites-in-illinois/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/24/walmart-strikes-renewable-energy-deal-with-sunpower.html

https://www.seia.org/initiatives/whats-megawatt

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