Supermarket giant Coles has completed the construction of its $43 million state-of-the-art ripening facility in Melbourne featuring a 600 kW solar system.
The ripening facility will house the produce of banana, avocado, and mango growers in North Queensland, and with the aid of its 1,790 solar panels installed by Beacon Energy Solutions. The facility will be able to ripen 350 million pieces of fruit each year as needed, improving shelf life and reducing waste.
The 600 kW install will produce enough solar energy to power 86 average Australian homes annually. The highly energy-efficient facility will ensure that customers at 270 supermarkets across Victoria and South Australia will be able to enjoy perfectly ripened Aussie bananas, avocados, and mangoes from Queensland growing regions like Tully, Lakeland, Innisfail, and Mareeba.
This is excellent news for a country so devoted to tropical fruit that its younger generations prefer to eat avocados than afford their first house.
Over the past 12 months, Coles has installed solar panels on 39 of its supermarkets, increasing the total number of its on-site solar generation to 69 separate facilities. On top of this progress, construction is currently underway on three new solar power plants in regional New South Wales, from which Coles will enter a PPA for solar energy covering 10% of its national energy consumption.
Coles will purchase 70% (220 GWh) of the energy generated by these three projects, developed by Terrain Solar and built and operated by Metka EGN at Wagga Wagga, Corowa, and Junee.
Coles’ Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve said that “By using energy more efficiently and investing in renewable energy projects, we (Coles) have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 36% since 2009, including a 6% reduction in the 2019 financial year.”
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