Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Wednesday that it is expanding its solar power program in California, with plans to put solar panels on 10 to 20 additional facilities within the next 18 months.
The world's largest retailer is partnering with BP Solar on the expansion, which builds upon 18 solar arrays that have already been installed on Wal-Mart facilities in the state. The solar installations are expected to provide 20 to 30 percent of each location's electric needs, Wal-Mart said.
"Increasing the use of solar energy is the right thing to do for the environment and makes tremendous business sense, especially in these economic conditions," Kimberly Sentovich, Wal-Mart's California regional general manager, said in a statement.
As part of an environmental push started under former CEO Lee Scott, Wal-Mart has outlined plans to one day be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.
To meet that goal, Wal-Mart said in 2007 that it would work with BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight to install solar power systems at 22 combined Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs and a distribution center in Hawaii and California.
Mike Duke, who became CEO on Feb. 1, said earlier this year that he planned to expand Wal-Mart's efforts to reduce waste, use renewable energy and push suppliers to clean up their act.
Wal-Mart said that as construction nears completion on the California solar sites, it will evaluate the feasibility of expanding the program to more locations.
The company has more than 200 stores and seven distribution centers in California, according to its website. (Reporting by Nicole Maestri