Wallmart goes alternative energy...

Well its finally happened. Wal-Mart opened one of 2 stores here in McKinney Texas to showcase their desires to use Renewable Energy.  It is an incredible display of resources - the icon out front in the parking lot is a Bergey 50 KW wind turbine mounted on top of a 120 ft mono pole - it's expected to produce more than 100,000 KW hrs of electricity a year here with the North Texas Winds.  There is also a 1 KW turbine used to power the monument lights as you drive into the parking lot.

On the building and through out the parking lot, there are Solar modules of various types utilizing several different types of modules including the see through type for sky lights....
from the restaurants and the used oils from the auto center they are reclaiming the fluids and using it for heating.

Over all, there are over 20 different types of new technologies that are being tested as a model for future stores.

This information form another alternative energy talk group here in North Texas.

arcandspark

Comments

  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    I heard about this while I was at MREF recently. I heard they were using OutBack equipment too.

    I'd love to see a picture of it some time. What was this other talk group in Texas ? Another
    AE forum ?

    Thanks,
    boB

    :mrgreen:
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    hmm i thought i posted, but i don't see it. that's great pr on their part. if you've got pics we'd love to see this.
    niel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Better than pictures... here is a news broadcast of the project. I don't know how long this link will last but here it is.
    http://www.nbc5i.com/news/4741583/detail.html
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    ok now i know why i thought it didn't post and it's because arc posted it elsewhere too. use the explorer for blom's link as it won't work with my netscape.
    niel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Neil, I was just trying to spread the word to other solar and alternative energy groups. Hope I did not upset anyone. I myself live about fifteen to twenty minutes from this Walmart and I have not seen it yet. But will go see it soon and try to take pictures. I was to busy this weekend repair power problems with my friends off grid home in Fairfeild Texas. His Kohler generator (the one I had thought was the best I had seen in a long time) is shaking itself apart. All the sheet metal housings and some really thick metal motor mount brackets are cracking into peices. THe Kohler feild rep said he had never seen anything like it, he agrees that there is some major vibration issues with this 22kw unit. But he said "Good Luck trying to get Kohler to EVER admit to a factory defect problem." He said they would pay for this one visit he was on to replace the busted electrical housings, (even thought they did not fit and the rep and I had to hammer the sheet metal to fit on the generator). The owner is now going to purchase an ONAN generator. The feild rep told us off the record that he hardly ever has to go on any service calls for the ONAN generators. arcandspark
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    i'm not upset. it just threw me until i realized you posted twice. that's a bunch of crap with the generator failing apart. let us know how the onan fairs.
    niel
  • kc8adukc8adu Solar Expert Posts: 50 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    we got a new walmart here in the dayton area
    i-70&hoke road
    they have huge skylights and sensors that dim the lighting when the sun takes over.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    the wal marts here don't do anything. they are proposing about a half dozen more in the area so maybe they'll institute some of these measures in them.
    i'll take this time to say hello to you(kc8adu) as i'm a fellow ham(n3ghx) and i've been to the dayton hamvention twice in the last millenium, but not recently. welcome aboard.
    niel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...
    niel wrote:
    the wal marts here don't do anything. they are proposing about a half dozen more in the area so maybe they'll institute some of these measures in them.
    niel
    These measures aren't cheap, and they are not always effective.

    As it happens, I know the professional certification engineer who handled the Texas Wal-Mart installation. [For a large building, an engineering firm designs the HVAC system, an installation company installs it all, and then a certification company comes in and runs a long series of tests to confirm that the design and the installation do what they are intended to do.] His comment to me on the Texas Wal-Mart system was

    "When I was there a few weeks ago they had trouble maintaining cooling inside and they were very nervous about the grand opening. If it's 85 degrees inside, nobody is going to care about the solar and wind power they generate. They ended up adding a whole bunch of cooling units last minute, and apparently the grand opening was successful."

    So in other words, although the publicity splash was great for Wal Mart, the system as designed and installed had to be bolstered at the last minute with a large conventional system hidden out back. You can be sure that Wal-Mart (and other potential users) will spend a lot of time analyzing this installation before they lay out a bunch of money for additional ones.

    There are always a lot of pitfalls in adopting new technology, or new applications for a technology. RE is no different. It will come, but it is not as straightforward and simple as people would like to believe. "JUST DO IT!" is not a reasonable approach.

    Bill
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    i agree bill, but i had said some and not all of what they did in texas. they will probably utilize only the most cost effective things right now for other stores for to retro fit all new stores with the same as that in texas would limit their ability to open very many stores. many states do have the incentives there for businesses to recoup some of this investment though. time will tell what as to what they deem to be successfull and most stores will be the run of the mill variety for now. if they're using their heads they can design the stores in such a way as to be able to do this stuff at a later date. ie orientation to the sun, roof angle and area, etc etc.
    niel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Ok, Ok, so the Walmart thing might not work just right, but remember its like all alternative energy stuff. It requires some tweaking to get everything right. The bottom line is this, You know, I know, and most everyone that reads these postings knows that the whole thing is just one of Walmarts DOG AND PONY SHOWS blowing hot solar gases up the back side of the consumers so they think Wlamart is trying to save the environment, and they might be. The truth is this, what they have done more than any magizne, TV news show or radio talk show, to raise public awareness to the fact that anyone and everyone can do this alternative energy stuff. The public see's this hugh wind generator and starts to think about their August $350 monthly electric bill and says the *#@!!! is going on. I might be able to try some kind of alternative energy on my house. So they start to pressure government to pass rebate programs and before you know it the whole thing starts to take off. I have several people at my job now asking me how they can install some kind of alternative system on their house and would it really help? I feel the whole thing was a success for alternative energy movement even though it might not work perfectly at that store. The design contractors need to go back and think hard about what it takes to air condition a building the size of four football fields using solar and wind power.(DUH) Remember this is a beta test site so failures are really successes. It teaches you what not to do next time.  arcandspark (KD5EWT) & wife (KD5IFG)
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    funny thought just popped into my head. what if the utilities down the road wind up blaming the heavier use of renewables for escalating electric bills saying fewer are on the grid and the bills have to be paid? of course we know that'd be b.s., but the public buys the crap the oil industry feeds them so why not the electric utilities too?
    as far as wal mart goes even if it's only a pr move on their part they'll start seeing the result of it. then maybe a light will go on above their heads and they'll do more stores this way with the refinements. energy costs for businesses are higher than for homes and so they will reap more sayings than we would as home owners. i'm not to sure of the stats for payback in this area, but it's better than we'd see.
    niel
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Read carefully, gentlemen. I've got no knock on WalMart or their attempt to use (and publicize) renewable energy. What I said was

    "There are always a lot of pitfalls in adopting new technology, or new applications for a technology. RE (renewable energy) is no different. It will come ...".

    Bill
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    bill,
    i hadn't thought ill of you in relation to wal mart. no need for defense.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Bill,

    Me neither. Did not mean to rub yo the wrong way.

    arcandspark
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    What Wal-Mart will do in the near future is use the cooking oil and used motor oil as fuel for heating.
    If it makes economic sense to them, they will go with other RE technologies. The same goes for homeowners and other businesses. What we need is a gradual phase-out of tax incentives to the oil, coal and nuk industries.
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    And here are some links pertaining to FedEx' new solar energy plant at their hub in Oakland, CA:

    http://www.hydrogennow.org/HNews/PressReleases/FedEx/FexExSolarInOakland.htm
    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=3336451

    Regards,
    Jim / crewzer

    P.S. Ain't it great to see former Governor "Moonbeam" in the news? :-)
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Times have changed!

    I was the electrical foreman on the first privately owned co-generation plant in Oakland in the early 80's.

    It was at two hospitals that had been buying electricity and gas from the local utility, PG&E. They used the gas for making steam and the electricity for everything else.

    We installed a couple of huge internal combustion engines that ran on natural gas that spun 4160V generators. High pressure steam was made from the hot exhaust gas and low pressure steam from the engine coolant.

    They bought electricity during the day and sold it at night.

    The biggest roadblock was PG&E who did everything they could to stop the project. They made us change the metering section of the switch gear several times until they ran out of excuses.

    In the late sixties my company was sued by PG&E for setting up a temporary generator site on a large construction site.

    The utility wanted so much money to run power to the site that it was cheaper for the construction company to make their own.

    That's when we found out that it was, at that time, illegal to compete with PG&E!

    I'm sure glad times have changed.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    'Nuther one coming

    I am told that Wal Mart will be doing another RE showcase soon in Aurora, CO (near Denver). Should be interesting to watch, and see what differences this one has from the Texas installations.

    Bill
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    it's good they are going to continue building them. i wonder how the original is holding up. is it going to expectations, etc? any word that they'll do anything differently in denver as opposed to tx?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    I'm brand new to this forum and this is a bit off topic.
    Considering Walmart's air conditioning problem reminds me of our Geo-Thermal system that we installed 6+ years ago. It works wonderfully.
    we have about 2800 watts of PV on Zomeworks racks to help with the electric bills. Recently went to a grid tie system and abandoned 2 Trace 5680? Inverters and 36 L16 Batteries.
    Just ordered a new 6-SQF-2 Grundfos pump and 2 KC-130TM panels. abandoning a Shurflow 9300 and related panels that never really worked.
    It is quite interesting to read what ya'll have to say.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,601 admin
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    Lou,

    I am very interested to hear what you have to say... Details about your Geo-Thermal system (technical details), and your experiences being off-grid and why you went grid tie (I am grid-tied myself--but I am in the "city" so $6 per month for unlimited "battery" service vs installing my own was a no-brainer)... Also what problems you had with your in-well diaphragm water pumping system.

    I am, slowly, looking to ease our utility bills (and go more renewable resources) and really look forward to hear from folks about what worked and what didn't.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wallmart goes alternative energy...

    welcome aboard lou and i as well as others would also be interested in hearing of your system.
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