Solar Roundup: Wrigley, Walmart, Stem, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Wrigley Manufacturing Company is using solar power to help run its Altoids manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. (pictured). Using funds from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program, the company installed 240 rooftop solar panels (a 50.4 kW array) on its Chattanooga facility in December 2010. The solar panels cover about one-seventh of the plant’s roof, leaving room for expansion. The array generates more than 170,000 kWh per year – about 3 percent of the plant’s energy use. During the first year of operation, the solar installation saved Wrigley more than $16,000 in electricity costs.

Walmart worked with SolarCity to install solar panels on 12 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs throughout Ohio. The solar panel installations will add approximately 6 million kWh of generation production. The stores receiving solar power systems are located in Mason, Xenia, Greenville, Austintown, Middletown, Franklin, Youngstown, Toledo, Milford, Loveland, and two systems in Cincinnati. Walmart has set a corporate-wide goal is to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. The United States EPA Green Power Partnership program ranks Walmart as the largest onsite green power generator in the US.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Stem, a Millbrae, Calif.-based energy technology company, announced a pilot project to study the impact of high-penetration solar photovoltaics on the grid, according to The Sacramento Bee. The two-year pilot will use Stem’s data collection, cloud-based power system analytics and intelligent energy storage to help the utility determine the amount of PVs that can be added to a distribution feeder while maintaining grid stability and power quality. Stem and the utility will work with residential and commercial customer volunteers from a solar-powered community.

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