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Local

County approves Walmart’s 7 acre solar project

STERLING – Walmart is bringing its nationwide renewable energy campaign to the city’s outskirts.

The Whiteside County Board recently approved a special use permit to allow a 7 acre solar farm off Matthew Road, next to the Walmart Distribution Center in Sterling. The future site will house a 2 megawatt ground mount solar array, according to county documents.

Paul Aguilar, representative for Sun Power Corporation, and Mike Cananady, representative of Newkirk Electric, who are constructing the solar farm, said in September that the solar farm will be used to mostly generate all of distribution’s center electricity needs. Not much of the energy generated will be “sold back to the utility company,” according to county documents.

Walmart spokesperson Kevin Gardner said, weather permitting, the solar farm will be in operation by April 2020.

Sterling is just one of the many sites chosen to participate in the company’s commitment to be 50 percent renewable energy by 2025, he said. Walmart’s long term goal is to reach 100 percent renewable energy.

“Walmart also has a goal to double the number of on-site solar energy projects at our U.S. stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers by 2020, compared with our 2013 baseline of 240 installations,” Gardner wrote in a statement.

Walmart also is “securing cost-effective, stable renewable energy pricing that meets or beats utility power pricing,” Gardner said.

The County Board approved the permit during its Oct. 15 meeting.

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