Apple Valley home to Walmart's largest solar project BY BROOKE EDWARDS, STAFF WRITER | 19-Jan-2010
APPLE VALLEY • Walmart has installed its largest solar project to date at its distribution center in north Apple Valley.
More than 5,300 ground-mounted solar panels now cover a 7-acre field near the facility’s Johnson Road site. The panels will supply one megawatt of power, or enough to meet roughly 20 percent of energy demands from the 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center.
“They aren’t just talking about being a more sustainable company, they’re acting on it,” said Apple Valley Councilwoman Ginger Coleman, in response to the news.
The Apple Valley site is part of a pilot project Walmart first announced in May 2007 to purchase solar power systems for up to 22 Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers in California and Hawaii. The goal is for Walmart’s massive national chain of stores is to eventually be powb y r e n e w a b l e energy sources, w i t h p l a n s t o have added solar installations at up to 20 additional California sites by this fall.
A l o n g w i t h benefiting the e nv i ro n m e n t , Scott Kubicek, general manager of the local distribution center, said the solar panels make good business sense in helping to reduce the company’s electric bill.
The local distribution center has also been testing five trucks that run on liquefied natural gas, which produces nearly zero emissions and is cheaper to burn than diesel.
“They are always looking at the most innovative approach to save money,” said Deputy Fire Chief Art Bishop with the Apple Valley Fire Protection District, “which in the end is passed on to the consumer.”