Back in August 2020, German discount supermarket chain Aldi, Australia’s 67th largest electricity user, become the first Australian supermarket to commit to 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2021. Yesterday, Aldi announced that it had achieved 100% renewable electricity six months ahead of time, making it the first Australian supermarket to have all its offices, stores and warehouses powered by renewable energy alone.
The result is already palpable to Aldi, who has seen its CO2 emissions drop by 85%. To achieve this goal, Aldi’s longtime solar partner Epho Commercial Solar (Epho), recently acquired by AGL, has refined its processes, managing to install 100 solar systems atop Aldi sites in 100 days. In addition, Aldi signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with two wind farms (Dundonnell Wind Farm in VIC, and the Collector Wind Farm in NSW), and acquired market renewable energy certificates.
Aldi Australia CEO, Tom Daunt, said that he hoped “other businesses across the country are encouraged by what we have been able to achieve and accelerate their own plans around renewable energy.”
According to Aldi the solar rollout across its network of freestanding stores continues, with more than 104,000 panels installed across 274 stores and six distribution centres since 2015. Epho has contributed 24.5 MW of that rollout.
“Supporting Aldi with their renewables ambition makes the Epho team immensely proud,” said Oliver Hartley, Epho’s managing director. “Last year,” Hartley continued, “at the peak of the program, we delivered 100 solar systems on Aldi stores in 100 business days. This kind of speed is only possible because Aldi and Epho have built a strong partnership over the years.”
Epho is no stranger to supermarket clients. In July 2020, Epho dramatically called in air support via the use of a helicopter to lift its solar systems onto 12 separate rooftops at Woolworths headquarters after restricted crane locations forced the installer to think outside the box.
But of course, it takes a certain manner of confidence to call in a chopper, the kind of secure confidence provided by experience. Epho and Aldi partnered up way back in 2015, but only delivered one store installation in that year and one more the following year.
Now Aldi has more on-site solar systems than any company in Australia, most of them 100 kW systems installed in that 100 business day period, but also featuring larger urban solar power stations on distribution centres such as that at Regency Park, South Australia (650 kW), Brendale, Queensland (1 MW), Derrimut, Victoria (1.4 MW), and Dandenong, Victoria (1.5 MW).
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