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President makes case for solar at MV's Walmart

Obama says energy efficiency good for economy, good for business

President Barack Obama spoke about energy efficiency at Mountain View's Walmart Friday morning, saying that if solar panels are good enough for cost-conscious Walmart, they are good enough for wide-spread use in the United States.

"Hello, Mountain View!" Obama said to the crowd of Walmart employees, media and government officials as he took the podium at inside the store, where aisles had been cleared for the event. He made some humorous remarks about being careful to not forget Mother's Day.

Obama said he decided to visit Mountain View's store because it is unique. "A few years ago, you decided to put solar panels on the roof of the store, you replaced some traditional light bulbs with LEDs, you made refrigerant cases more more efficient, and you even put in charging stations for electric vehicles. And all told those upgrades created dozens of construction jobs and helped this store save money on its energy," the president said. "That's why I'm here today. Because more and more companies like Walmart are realizing that wasting less energy isn't just good for the planet, it's good for business. It's good for the bottom line. And it means jobs."

With protesters gathered outside to call attention to complaints about Walmart's anti-union policies and low wages, Obama noted, "Walmart is pretty good at counting its pennies" while making the case that Walmart's adoption of solar is a sign of the times. Walmart's CEO had announced earlier in the morning the company will save $1 billion a year on energy costs by 2020 by adding 7 billion kWh of solar to its 850 million square feet of buildings in the U.S., a space equal to half the city of San Francisco, Obama noted.

Obama said Walmart isn't the only company taking such steps.

"Last month I called up leaders from a whole range of industries and today more than 300 organizations, home builders, affordable housing builders, companies like Home Depot and Apple, announced that they are going to expand in the use of solar energy, thereby creating more jobs and cutting carbon pollution," Obama said.

Banks like Connecticut's Green Bank and Goldman Sachs are "ready to invest billions of dollars in renewable energy," he said.

Obama also announced that he is making sure the federal government does its part though energy upgrades to federal facilities. "Today I'm ordering an additional $2 billion dollars in upgrades over the next three years -- these upgrades will create tens of thousands of construction jobs and save taxpayers billions of dollars," Obama said.

Obama made the case that green jobs are now key to the American economy. He noted how Americans wanted a chance to create "an economy that works, not just for a few at the top, but for everybody. The idea that no matter who you are, what you look like, what your last name is, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, you can make it here in America. And that starts with helping businesses create more jobs," he said.

"The biggest factor in bringing jobs back to America has been our commitment to American energy over the last five years," Obama said, later adding that the energy sector "is probably going to have more to do with how our economy succeeds than just about any other."

The president said jobs in the solar panel industry went up 20 percent last year while solar panel prices have dropped 60 percent over the past few years.

"Every four minutes another American home or business goes solar," Obama said. "And every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be shipped overseas."

"Climate change is real and we have to act now," said the president. "In Washington, we've got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they are wasting time (arguing) a settled debate."

"Earlier this week we issued a report," Obama said. "It was years in the making, called the 'National Climate Assessment.' Hundreds of scientists, experts, businesses, not-for-profits, local communities all contributed over the course of four years. What they all found, unequivocally, is that climate change is not some far off problem in the future, it's happening now, it's causing hardship now, it's affecting every sector of our economy and our society. More severe floods, more violent wildfires. It's already costing cities and states and families and businesses money. Here in California, you know what's happening, and increasingly more Americans do."

Following his remarks at the store, the president was scheduled to depart from Moffett Field and return to Washington, D.C. He attended two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee on Thursday evening and spent the night in San Jose.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 9, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Go solar energy! To quote futurist Ray Kurzweil:

"Solar panels are coming down dramatically in cost per watt. And as a result of that, the total amount of solar energy is growing, not linearly, but exponentially. It's doubling every 2 years and has been for 20 years. And again, it's a very smooth curve. There's all these arguments, subsidies and political battles and companies going bankrupt, they're raising billions of dollars, but behind all that chaos is this very smooth progression."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm

These trips are a phenomenal waste of tax payer dollars (both Federal and local), the only purpose being fundraising and PR. No time to meet and greet the local folks who come out to see him, if you can't pay you don't play.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm

There is an error in this sentence:

"Walmart's CEO had announced earlier in the morning the company will save $1 billion a year on energy costs by 2020 by adding 7 kWh of solar to its 850 million square feet of buildings in the U.S., a space equal to half the city of San Francisco, Obama noted."

Instead of "7 kWh" the quote should refer to some # of Megawatts (MW). 7 MW is too low, so perhaps the quote should be 700 MW or even 7,000 MW.

7 kWh is the amount of energy a mid-sized home solar system will produce in 1 year in Mtn. View.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on May 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

Good catch, Bruce. What he said was "7 billion KWh".

Source: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DC
a resident of North Whisman
on May 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Obama spoke to a crowd of 100. I think we know why he was here, $30,000 per plate dinner party.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr. T
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

This guy is incompetent. Solar is not ready for prime time. The Federal Government continues to back bad economic return, AKA Solyndra, GreenVolts and etc.

The big bang for the buck is shale petroleum and that is where the energy jobs and profits are with no help from Uncle Sam.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by solar
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Mountain View should install a nuclear power point at moffett. France uses it successfully and sells power to other countries. Anyone who thinks we shouldn't have one of our own is just a NIMBY.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on May 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

Nuclear power point? You must have the latest version of Office, mine doesn't have that feature.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wendy
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

France is very comfortable with nuclear because they know they can store their nuclear waste in our backyard here in the states. Germany is scaling back their nuclear power plants.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @wendy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm

What are you talking about wendy? France takes care of it's own waste: Web Link.

Next time try to know something before trying to educate others!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim G
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

why are you giving this man OBAMA more air time? He is the worst President this Country has ever had. Free Speech and i said it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

"France generates around three quarters of its electricity from nuclear power but despite decades of activity it is no nearer a solution to the perils of nuclear waste." Web Link

Next time try to know something before trying to educate others!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by not a fan
a resident of The Crossings
on May 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I agree with kathy and DC. These trip are waste of time and taxpayer dollars. There is NO reason to allow the POTUS to spend taxpayer money raising money for his party while flying in Air Force One.

As for the appearance, there were FAR more protesters there than anything else. I will be happy when this guy is out of office and no longer backing up traffic in my neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

"And all told those upgrades created dozens of construction jobs"

No. The upgrades created a few projects which a few people worked on for a few days. A real job is what you do day after day, year after year like in the 1.4 million jobs at Walmart. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Freemarket
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I agree with USA. We need to support Walmart so that all the money I've invested in the Chinese stock market will skyrocket. Please, please, please... All goods at walmart are built in china, so every dollar you spend there will make me and America's #1 economic foe happy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by free market
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on May 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

"Solar is not ready for prime time."

Amazing. The free market disagrees, or perhaps you didn't read the article:

"Walmart's CEO had announced earlier in the morning the company will save $1 billion a year on energy costs by (adding) solar..."

What do you have against the free market? Or maybe you just don't respect ONE BILLION DOLLARS.


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