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Walmart Mega-Solar Park Seen as a Force in Driving Down Electricity Rates in Alabama

March 28, 2018

The Boss Magazine:

Walmart is known as a retail giant with a mission to offer low prices and, in the last decade or so, lead the path to sustainability.

“Walmart envisions a world where people do not have to choose between electricity they can afford and renewable electricity that is good for communities and the planet,” said Walmart’s Approach to Renewable Energy.

One of these projects is the recently opened solar project in Alabama, which began operating in late 2017. Originally planned as a 72-megawatt plant, the 79.2-megawatt solar energy project is called Alabama Solar A and was developed by Alabama Power.

The Walmart project stretches across 1,100 acres—for perspective, the facility cannot be seen in its entirety from anywhere on the ground—and holds 338,662 solar panels that track the sun automatically. The tracking system is actually considered one of the best features in the facility as it will put the Walmart solar panels to optimal use.

“Without this tracking system, the panels don’t perform well during the winter time,” said Kevin Winchell, Field Service Manager at Clenera. “That’s the biggest advantage of this tracking system, it gives us those extra months.”

Moreover, the Walmart solar panels make up the largest solar facility in Alabama, and while it generates enough energy to power over 18,000 homes, most of the energy and renewable energy certificates generated will go to power Walmart stores in the area.  

Most importantly, Alabama Power has been clear that the cost will not fall onto other customers but Walmart itself will pay for the $140 million project. Additionally, the Walmart solar panels—while not directly powering Alabama homes—will be of great benefit to homeowners across the Chambers County.

“This project is great for Alabama Power customers because it puts downward pressure on rates. It also helps our partner, Walmart meets its sustainability goals,” said John Kelley, Director of Forecasting and Resource Planning at Alabama Power.

More: Walmart Solar Panels Power Alabama Locations

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