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Walmart is known for its controversial cost-cutting measures:

  • The company is notorious for paying super low wages.
  • It hires lots of part-time employees to avoid funding full-time benefits.
  • It’s also been charged with abusing tax havens to hide an estimated $76 billion in assets.

In other words, Walmart knows how to save money.

And that’s precisely why it’s such a huge supporter of solar power and clean energy storage. For despite the company’s track record when it comes to taxation and employee compensation, Walmart recognizes the tremendous savings potential of going green. It wouldn’t explore renewable energy options unless doing so made financial sense.

This should send a powerful message to other companies out there. Sustainability isn’t only about public image or corporate social responsibility.

It’s just good business.

Let’s take a look.

Walmart’s Solar and Clean Energy Storage Investments

To say that Walmart is a champion of solar is kind of an understatement. It is currently the largest corporate stakeholder when it comes to photovoltaic (PV) capacity, outpacing other major players like Google and Apple. As of 2015, Walmart had nearly 350 PV installations that generated over 140 MW of clean solar power.

The company is also a leader in clean energy storage, with more than 17 large-scale battery installations in just California alone. This storage capacity allows Walmart to avoid peak demand charges and time-of-use pricing to save a tremendous amount of money.

These investments are part of Walmart’s long-term goal of running on 100% renewable power.

Again, the company isn’t doing this for publicity. It continues making these investments because of the savings and profit potential involved.

Of course, there are PR benefits to all of this.

For example, Walmart already plays an important role during disaster relief efforts. When the grid goes down, it’s not uncommon for area residents to gather at the nearest Walmart since its stores are often the only places that have food and shelter. And as the company brings on more storage capacity, it’ll become easier for Walmart to provide reliable access to power as well.

According to Mark Vanderhelm, the company’s VP of energy, “We want to be a place to restart [the] community after natural disaster.”

And that’s a good thing for everyone – including Walmart. After all, having a captive audience during hurricanes, tornadoes, and other major disasters is a great way to boost short-term sales.

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