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Wal-Mart Launches Solar Schools Program In Minneapolis.

Foundation grant helps install solar power systems on four local schools

Minneapolis, MN – May 17, 2011 – Walmart today announced as part of $1.2 million dollar Walmart Foundation donation to the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED), four schools in Minneapolis are now equipped with solar panels. As part of the Solar Schools Program, Pillsbury Elementary School, South High School, Seward Montessori School and Floyd B. Olson Middle School were outfitted with solar panels.

The Solar Schools grant provides each school with the renewable energy technology along with curriculum, teacher training and hands-on science kits. The installations will serve as living science experiments for the students. In addition to Minneapolis, schools in Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle and Los Angeles are also participating in this program.

"Walmart is committed to providing support throughout our communities to improve education and promote renewable energy, such as solar panels” said Lisa Nelson, Senior Manager, Walmart Government and Public Affairs. “By partnering with local educational institutions, like the Minneapolis Public Schools, as well as organizations like NEED, we believe the Solar Schools Program will have a lasting effect on the future of the city of Minneapolis."

"The Minneapolis Public Schools are pleased to be collaborating with the Walmart Foundation Solar Schools Grant Initiative and NEED to expand our sustainability efforts," said MPS Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson. “The installation of solar panels at Olson, Pillsbury, Seward and South builds on our commitment to environmental responsibility.” In addition to generating solar energy, in recent years MPS has improved its recycling rates and implemented organics recycling in lunchrooms. The school district has switched to green cleaning products and continues to pursue energy efficiencies through a preventative maintenance program in its buildings and careful monitoring of energy use.

The four solar installations are expected to annually:
- generate approximately 30,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity,
- save the schools more than $3,000 in energy costs and prevent more than 25 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

The panels for the Minneapolis schools were all manufactured by Wanxiang America Corporation in Rockford, IL, and installed by Green Circuit based out of St. Paul, MN.

"Green Circuit was pleased to help bring the NEED Solar School Program to Minneapolis Public Schools,” said Brett Robinson, Principal of Green Circuit. “These installations serve as live examples of renewable energy in-action and an opportunity for our youth and community to learn more about sustainability."

In addition to aligning with Walmart’s renewable energy goal and commitment to education and teachers, this grant will help create and sustain green jobs. All of the panels used in the Solar Schools program are manufactured in the United States. According to NEED, this program will help support green jobs, including engineering, design and installer technician jobs.

About Minneapolis Public Schools
Minneapolis Public Schools promises an inspirational education experience in a safe, welcoming environment for all diverse learners to acquire the tools and skills necessary to confidently engage in the global community. For more information, visit www.mpls.k12.mn.us.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

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