Walmart will test both copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride thin film solar panels on the roofs of between 20 and 30 outlets in California and Arizona.

When fully installed it’s hoped the new panels will be able to supply between 20 to 30% of the total energy needs for each store.

The company’s vice president of energy, Kim Saylors Laster, hopes ‘large scale’ use of CIGS will further its development and bring it to market quicker.

While the use of cadmium telluride thin film could ‘help make the case for other businesses’ to adopt the technology for on-site commercial use.

Thin film solar panels look similar to the traditional crystalline panels, but need fewer raw materials to manufacture, resulting in a smaller environmental impact over its life cycle, according to Ms Saylors Laster.

“By leveraging our global scale to become a more efficient company, we are able to lower our expenses and help develop markets for new technologies,” said Ms Saylors Laster.

“Developing and incorporating new renewable energy sources, like thin film, reduces energy price risk and aligns very well with our commitment to solving business challenges through technology.”

American firm SolarCity will design, install and maintain the new panels on Walmart’s premises.

Luke Walsh

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