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Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report) has completed solar installations at 8 Walmart stores and 2 Sam's Clubs stores in Maryland. The systems were installed in partnership with SolarCity, which installs, owns and maintains solar power systems for Walmart. These solar panels will generate approximately 4.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, adequate to power nearly 370 homes.

Notably, in Mar 2013, Walmart in partnership with SolarCity, agreed to install solar panels at 12 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs throughout Ohio, which are expected to add nearly 6,000,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. Last year, SolarCity had installed Walmart's largest solar-power system at its distribution center in Buckeye, Ariz. Walmart partnered with SolarCity in Sep 2011 to install solar power panels in more than 60 stores in California, creating solar power for 75% of its stores.

Walmart is well on track to reach its goal of supplying 100% renewable energy. It has recently committed to increase the production of renewable energy to 7 billion kWh globally every year by Dec 2020, up 600% from 2010 levels. By 2020, Walmart will also reduce the intensity of energy required to power Walmart's buildings globally by 20% compared to 2010 levels.

Walmart is way ahead of other companies when it comes to the use of renewable power. Walmart now has over 300 renewable energy projects in operation or under development around the world. Besides solar plant installations, Walmart has plans to develop projects in wind, fuel cells and other technologies.

We believe that Walmart’s commitment to expand and accelerate its solar power initiative program will not only create jobs and protect the environment but will also reduce costs for local businesses by lowering electricity bills. We thus remain confident that the company will continue to grow its solar energy program in the U.S. and around the world.

Walmart holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the industry that are presently doing well include Ingles Markets, Inc. (IMKTA - Snapshot Report), Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. and Supervalu Inc (SVU - Analyst Report). While Ingles Markets holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Supervalu and Harris Teeter carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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