By Roger Mari
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The parent company of Walmart and Sam's Club installed nearly 1,500 solar panels on it's Keeaumoku building to help save energy and power it's stores.
The plan is to have 22 Walmart stores in California and Hawaii running entirely on solar energy.
"We think it's our job to help point the direction in the use of renewable energy, trying to be at forefront it's a win situation for the environment using less energy," said Sam's Club manager Mitch Cohen.
Sam's Club on Keeamoku is the first to have these 1,488 solar panels installed. They will provide up to 30% of the stores energy needs, generating power for everything from lights to ovens and refrigeration sysytems.
"We're going to save about 15% on our electric bill through the use of the solar panel," Cohen said.
It's a pilot program that one of the projects partners believes will someday set the standard in using renewable energy.
"We tend to believe as the technology improves and as we do other energy conservation measures that it's going to help the overall energy of the facilities," said Keith Cronin of Sun Edison Hawaii.
Hawaii's climate makes this an ideal location.
"We have sufficient sun throughout the year to make it work so what better place to try it," Cronin said.
Walmart estimates it will save about 444,000 kilowats in one year through the use of solar energy, which translates to providing enough power for four households in Hawaii.
Additional Hawaii locations to have solar panels installed this year include Walmart stores in Mililani and Pearl City on O'ahu, and Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
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