Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT): The Retailer Is Betting On This Market

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) isn’t known as a company with an eye on the environment, but it’s quietly become one of the largest renewable energy producers in the world. Its latest Global Responsibility Report highlighted just how much the company is using wind and solar power to provide electricity.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)Renewable energy provides 21% of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s electricity globally, driven by a growing number of solar installations. The company has already built 200 solar projects across the U.S., and a recent agreement with SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) to add solar to 60 stores in California will grow its solar presence. A distribution center in California has a 1 MW wind turbine and there are two more utility-scale wind projects and two micro-hydro projects under way.

Sustainability and energy efficiency are driving some of these moves, but so are economics. The rooftop spaces on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s stores and distribution centers are unproductive assets without solar power — solar is a way use this space productively and generate power on-site. In locations where blackouts are common this development could keep the lights on when the rest of the neighborhood goes dark.

It’s also becoming very economical to use solar power. SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) offers zero-down installations and there’s a positive return on investment for projects that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) pays for itself. As the costs of solar modules and installations fall it will become more and more economical and make use of otherwise unused real estate.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) isn’t the only company putting up solar at a rapid rate. The Solar Energy Industries Association has Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) first for corporate solar installations followed by Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) and Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS). Costco is another profit-focused enterprise that doesn’t seem like a natural fit for solar but the economics are too good to pass up.

If Wal-Mart and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) see solar and even wind as ways to build more sustainable businesses you can be assured that other companies will follow. The U.S. has only recently become a hotspot for solar investments and large rooftops like these two companies have will be major points of installation in coming years.

The article Wal-Mart Betting Big on Green Energy originally appeared on

Motley Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST). The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.