Solar on Superstores is one of those ideas that makes too much sense not to happen. America’s big box stores ― think Walmart, Target, Home Depot or even your neighborhood grocery store ― have spacious roofs and sprawling parking lots that are unobstructed from the sun. There’s simply no doubt we should be using these places to generate clean renewable solar energy. Despite this no-brainer of a proposition, most big box stores have yet to adopt wide scale on-site solar production. We’re working hard to change that.
Every superstore without solar energy is a missed opportunity. A 2016 report from the Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center found that the roofs of our nation’s big box stores could generate 62.3 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic capacity. For perspective, that amount could power more than 7 million average American homes and would more than double the nation’s solar energy compared to 2016. Five years later, that number is even greater (for details stay tuned for an updated version of that 2016 report coming out in January). As a result, big box stores can play an important role in our transition to 100% renewable energy.
To help kickstart this effort, the Environment America Research & Policy Center has launched a campaign calling on Walmart to install solar panels on all of its viable roofs and parking lots by 2035. The retail giant already has ambitious sustainability goals, including pledges to receive 100% of its power from renewable energy by 2035 and to be carbon neutral with no offsets by 2040. We applaud Walmart’s ambition, but reaching these goals will take bold action. Off-site solar projects will certainly factor in, but with more than 5,000 U.S. locations, Walmart should prioritize solar production on its own stores to help reach its goals and cement its position as a bona fide climate champion.
To make this happen, we need people to take action. You can help encourage Walmart to go solar by creating photo or video petitions or writing personal testimonials that can be sent to the company. The next time you’re shopping at a Walmart, take a picture or record a video of yourself in front of the store with your receipt. Showcase the roof and parking lot that, more likely than not, don’t yet have solar panels on them.
Write or talk about why you support the Solar on Superstores campaign. Explain the great opportunity we have to generate clean energy and call on Walmart to install solar panels on its rooftops and parking lots. Post it on social media and tag Walmart (@Walmart on Twitter and Instagram).
Solar on Superstores can be a game changer for our environment and our communities. Together, we can make it a reality.