Here comes the sun to Ariz. Walmart DC

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — Walmart boosted its sustainable reputation Thursday with the announcement of a new solar initiative at its distribution center near Phoenix.

The retailer will outfit the DC with more than 14,000 solar panels -- making it Walmart's largest solar installation to date. The panels will cover the 1,000 sq. ft. building and parking canopies. The panels will produce up to 30% of the center's energy needs and generate up to 5.3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, according to Walmart.

Walmart's solar project in Buckeye, Ariz. is the company's second distribution center solar project in Arizona, coming just over a year after 2 MW project in Casa Grande, Ariz., that used a combination of ground mounted and solar shaded parking canopy structures.

"Environmental sustainability is an essential ingredient to us for doing business responsibly and successfully," said David Ozment, senior director of Walmart Energy. "As the world's largest retailer, our actions have the potential to save our customers money and help substantially reduce our carbon footprint for generations to come."

Since launching its solar pilot program in May 2007, Walmart strengthened its commitment to renewable energy across the country. Currently, Walmart has more than 180 renewable energy projects in operation and development around the world. These renewable energy projects include solar rooftops, micro-wind on parking lots, biodiesel generators and fuel cells. In fact, the company recently unveiled the addition of a 1MW wind turbine at its Red Bluff distribution center in California, as well as the 100th solar installation in the state. The combined focus on renewable energy in Arizona and across the country contributes to the company's aspirational goal to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy.