Here’s Why Obama Picked Wal-Mart for Today’s Clean-Energy Hullabaloo

Photographer: Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

President Barack Obama poses for a selfie after speaking at a Wal-Mart store in Mountain View, Calif., on May 9, 2014. Close

President Barack Obama poses for a selfie after speaking at a Wal-Mart store in... Read More

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Photographer: Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

President Barack Obama poses for a selfie after speaking at a Wal-Mart store in Mountain View, Calif., on May 9, 2014.

U.S. President Barack Obama is in Mountain View, California, today touting a stack of pollution-fighting actions that will have the same effect as taking 80 million cars off the road.

The choice of Wal-Mart Stores as a backdrop is raising some eyebrows. It shouldn’t. While employees will be out protesting Wal-Mart’s anti-union stance, that doesn’t take away from the company’s clean energy bona-fides. In terms of total solar-energy capacity, Wal-Mart is in a class of its own:

Source: Solar Energy Industries Association

Source: Solar Energy Industries Association

Wal-Mart has almost twice as much solar capacity as second-place Costco. The company doesn’t fare well in terms of percentage of energy coming from renewables -- by some estimates just 4 percent of its total. But in terms of total solar capacity Wal-Mart draws more than 38 U.S. states.

For a president who wants a place to stand while he promotes clean energy, it's the perfect green screen.

More from Tom Randall:

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