The leading corporate adopter of solar doesn’t hail from California, as might be expected, but from Bentonville, Arkansas.
Wal-Mart had 142 megawatts of installed photovoltaic capacity as of 2015 and is chasing a 100 percent renewable power goal. Now the company is starting to lay out a strategy for energy storage.
The company has deployed 17 energy storage projects, all in the state of California, including six 200-kilowatt/400-kilowatt-hour solar-tied batteries. These systems currently serve the company with time-of-use shifting and peak demand shaving, said Mark Vanderhelm, Wal-Mart’s vice president of energy, speaking to a crowd at the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego last week.
There isn’t a specific timeline yet, but Vanderhelm said he is looking into future applications like frequency regulation, demand response, bidding into capacity markets, critical load backup power, and pairing with onsite generation for microgrid operation.
Vanderhelm envisions Wal-Mart stores becoming community hubs in the event of an emergency.
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