Aug 6, 2012 - UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's said Friday it had installed 16 MW of solar power capacity at 169 of its stores in the UK.
According to the company, the installations, featuring 69,500 photovoltaic (PV) panels, mean it now operates the largest solar array in Britain and Europe outside commercial solar farms. The systems are expected to reduce the retailer's annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 6,800 tonnes, as well as cut the energy use of each store and result in energy cost savings.
The solar project is part of the company's 20 by 20 sustainability plan that sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved by 2020. Chief executive Justin King said Sainsbury's was looking to install more panels to reduce its environmental impact. Supermarkets have large roofs, many of which underutilised, King noted. He also said that the cost of solar energy for commercial installations was expected reach grid parity in the next two to four years, which could signal a new boom for the solar industry.
As part of its sustainability initiatives, Sainsbury's has also installed more than 40 biomass boilers and recently unveiled plans for geo-thermal heat pumps to provide heating and hot water at as many as 100 stores.