Everyone loves to hate mega-retailer Wal-Mart, but perhaps there is some truth to its “Save Money. Live Better.” slogan.
The Wal-Mart Foundation recently announced that it is donating $1.2 million to the National Energy Education Development Project to help schools install solar panels in 5 U.S. cities. Not only will the solar panels on the schools help save money, but students will be able to literally use the renewable energy installations as a learning experience.
Twenty schools total in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Minneapolis will be able to install solar panels with the Wal-Mart donations. The solar arrays will generate about 150,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of free electricity, saving the schools $15,000 each year in energy costs – at each of the sites! Not only that, but 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions will also be prevented annually.
The schools to receive the solar donations have not yet been determined. NEED will work with local districts to determine the best candidates for the systems. Rooftop installations using solar panels manufactured in the U.S. will create green jobs and support local businesses. In addition to the solar panel systems, schools will receive teaching materials to incorporate into their curriculum. Lessons about energy consumption, conservation, and renewable energy can be taught to children attending the solar schools.
According to Wal-Mart’s press release:
“The Walmart Solar School program will help educate the next generation on the opportunities and benefits of using more renewable energy,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “This program aligns perfectly with Walmart’s sustainability commitment to involve our communities and customers in our environmental and social efforts.”
Wal-Mart’s donation to help schools install solar panels is but the latest in recent news stories lauding the retailer for its efforts to go green.