As President Barack Obama made his way to the Mountain View store this morning, Walmart leaders announced plans to double the number of solar panels on its U.S. stores and distribution centers.
Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart, said his company is already leading American companies in generating solar power, but plans to produce 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of 2020.
"When Walmart commits to something it gives other companies the incentive" to move ahead, he said. Walmart's initiative would have a "ripple effect" in reducing the price of solar, he said. The company itself expects to save $1 billion in energy costs by 2020. The company now saves $4.8 million a year with 240 solar installations.
Simon said the Mountain View store was chosen for the event because 15 percent of its energy comes from an on-site solar array.
"Walmart's scale, brand, and leadership is sending the signal that solar is cost effective," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of Solar City, the company that supplied solar panels to the store.
Obama is scheduled to speak at 9:55 a.m. Watch this site for news about the event.