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Walmart Expands Solar Capacity

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Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) along with SunEdison, which is a leading global solar energy services provider, has completed solar power installations at three Wal-Mart stores in Hawaii. The three Walmart stores of Kahului, Kailua-Kona and Kapolei will now be powered by renewable solar energy, generating more than 400,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar electricity in its first year of production and eliminating 320 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Walmart is focused on expanding its solar program in the islands and is geared up to complete installations at the Honolulu Sam's Club and Mililani Walmart on Oahu and the Lihue Walmart on Kauai.

Earlier, in Apr 2012, Walmart had announced 6 more solar projects in Colarado in partnership with SolarCity, which installs, owns and maintains solar power systems for Walmart. These six installations are expected to generate nearly three million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year and avoid spreading more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. Colorado expects to produce 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Walmart had also entered into a partnership with SolarCity in Sep 2011 to install solar-power panels at more than 60 stores in California, creating solar power for 75% of its stores. SolarCity has installed solar power panels at Walmart stores in California, Arizona and Colorado.

We believe that Walmart has got a good opportunity to expand and accelerate its solar power initiative program. Besides creating jobs and protecting the environment, these solar projects have also reduced costs for local businesses by lowering power bills.

Walmart is using new renewable technologies to achieve its goal of supplying 100% renewable energy to its stores. We thus remain confident that Walmart will continue to grow its solar energy program in the U.S. and around the world.

Walmart holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Retail and wholesale stocks that are presently doing favorable business include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), Safeway Inc. (SWY), and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cotta (NGVC). Green Mountain holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Safeway and Natural Grocers carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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