Wal-Mart's Solar Dream


Wal-Mart has put out a request for proposals (RFP) to several large solar outfits. Apparently the request is fairly confidential, but Joel Makower seems to have seen the RFP and is making some comments about it over at his blog.

All that is certain is that Wal-Mart seems serious about the possibility, and that solar installers are right now scrambling to put together what could easily be the biggest private solar project in history.We recently wrote about Google's gigantic solar installation, Makower crunches some quick numbers based on the RFP and some stats from unnamed sources, and says that this could easily by fifty times bigger than Google's 1.6 megawatt installation. The Wal-Mart project could more than 300 kilowatts of panels on over 300 stores thus providing Wal-Mart with more than 100 megawatts of solar power.

As everyone who's ever flown can attest, Wal-Marts have some pretty big roofs, and some Wal-Marts are in pretty sunny places with pretty large solar subsidies. The five states that Wal-Mart is investigating, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New Jersey, all fit those criteria.

Of course, this is just an RFP. The proposals could come back and Wal-Mart's eyes could bug-out at the prices. They might launch a small pilot program, like so many other large corporations. But if Wal-Mart really wants to meet its goal of decreasing greenhouse emissions by 30% in the next three years, making big expensive decisions like this is going to be absolutely necessary.

::Joel Makower

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