Sainsbury’s leads the UK with ambitious rollout of solar panels to stores

Ely solar panels

Sainsbury’s has today announced that it has reached another milestone in its industry-leading innovative renewable energy strategy. Through its ambitious plan to install innovative PV cylindrical technology at stores across its estate the retailer has now generated 7.0 MWp of electricity, enough to power 2,000 homes for a year.

This milestone follows the installation on solar panels at 115 Sainsbury's supermarkets, meaning the retailer now has over 36,600 panels of cylindrical PV in stores across the country. This is the largest multi-roof installation of solar panels in UK history.

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury's Property Director, said: "Sainsbury's is proud of its industry leading commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and today is another important milestone in our journey. Our targets are in place because we recognise that this is the right thing for us to do as a responsible retailer. We know that reaching these targets will not be easy but we are confident that we can meet them, making a real difference to our environmental footprint.

"Exciting and ambitious projects are great examples of our determination to meet the stretching targets set by our 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan."

This installation of solar panels is part of Sainsbury's wider commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint through using renewable energy technologies at its stores. As well as solar panels Sainsbury's has recently installed its 26th biomass boiler in its new Ely store and plans to double the number these in stores by the end of 2012. Beyond this five Geo-Exchange ground source heat pumps have also been installed since the retailer's first successful trial at its Crayford store in 2010 with plans to triple these by the end of the year.

Sainsbury's investment in onsite renewable energy technologies is part of its ambitious corporate target to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30% absolute and 65% relative by 2020 compared with 2005. This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50% by 2030.

This broader target is one of 20 targets recently published in Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan launched in October 2011. This industry-leading plan acts as a new cornerstone to Sainsbury's business strategy and sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved by 2020. This £1 billion plan aims to ensure the company remains at the forefront of sustainability between now and 2020.

Sainsbury's is committed to looking at ways to further reduce its carbon footprint.

  • Four stores using solar thermal hot water are currently being trialed with a view to further rollout, while air source heat pumps have been installed as standard specification since 1998 and are in every store providing heating / cooling for colleague areas.  
  • As well as using a variety of renewable energy technologies onsite, Sainsbury's has also entered into direct Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) offering a fixed price for 8-10 years with onshore wind farms in Scotland, biomass generators and Anaerobic Digestion sites. Sainsbury's currently sources over 4% of its power from such renewable sources with plans to exceed 10% by 2013.
  • Sainsbury's donates surplus food that is for human consumption to charities such as FareShare and other local organisations, to ensure that it is not wasted.  Since late 2011 waste food from all stores that is not fit for human consumption has been backhauled to the depots and put to a positive use. All the waste bread is sent for animal feed with the remainder waste being sent to Anaerobic Digestion to create electricity for the national grid.

Sainsbury's is also an industry leader in the sale of British produce, spending over £4 billion each year with its UK suppliers. As part of the 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan we will double the amount of British food we sell.

Sainsbury's is committed to helping customers Live Well For Less. We do this by showing customers how they can Live Well- with great quality and standards - For Less- less money than you thought, with less hassle and less impact on the environment. For further details visit our Live Well For Less website.

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