Supermarket major reaches milestone in rooftop solar rollout


Having committed to power all of its Australian operations with renewable energy by the end of 2025, retailer Woolworths Group has added another supermarket to its solar network with a 100kW PV array installed atop the roof of Woolworths Conder in the Australian Capital Territory.

Woolworths said in a statement the system, comprising 222 solar panels spread across a 500 square metre area, has the capacity to generate more than 145MWh of renewable energy each year – the equivalent to more than 25 Australian households’ annual electricity consumption.

Woolworths Green Energy Transition general manager Michael Shelley said the solar expansion will aid the group’s transition to 100% green electricity by 2025, supplementing the electricity provided to the retailer through partnerships with renewable energy companies.

“In recent years we’ve been on a mission to roll out solar panels on supermarkets across the country,” he said. “We’re committed to doing our bit to bring about a better tomorrow.”

The Canberra store is the 150th Woolworths supermarket now generating energy from solar power. The retailer said it has an established solar network on supermarket rooftops that totals almost 80,000 panels, generating enough electricity to power 6,300 Australian households.  It also has installed rooftop solar across more than 20 other properties, including distribution centres.

The network offsets an average of 13% of the energy consumption of the stores it’s installed on, boosting the group’s efforts to cut total emissions by 63% by 2030.

The solar program also extends to Woolworths’ distribution centres, including this 1.5MW system on its Melbourne centre,

Image: Woolworths

While the solar program is aiding Woolworths’ ambition to source 100% renewable energy by 2025, the group is continuing to sign supply agreements with large-scale wind and solar developers, having recently announced its operations in South Australia will be powered entirely by renewables from July this year after it signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Australian arm of Spanish energy group Iberdrola.

Under the new energy partnership, from July Woolworths will source renewable electricity from Iberdrola Australia’s newly developed Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, where 210MW of wind with 107MW of solar will work in tandem to supply approximately 100GWh of renewable electricity per year on the retailer’s behalf.

Woolworths chief executive officer Brad Banducci said the scheme is aimed to drive down Woolworths’ carbon footprint.

“South Australia will be the first state where every one of our sites are powered by green energy,” he said. “South Australia has helped lead the transition to renewable energy in Australia, combining solar, wind and batteries to enable us to make this leap forward in our mission to be powered entirely by renewable sources by 2025.”

Woolworths also announced that from July it will begin drawing on additional green energy from the 224MW Bango Wind Farm in the New South Wales (NSW) Southern Tablelands under a partnership with CWP Renewables that will provide enough renewable energy to power more than 100 supermarkets.

Woolworths has signed a 10-year agreement with CWP Renewables with the power purchase agreement (PPA) to cover about 30% of Woolworths’ NSW energy needs.

Woolworths said it will gradually replace non-renewable energy contracts in other states across Australia by 2025.

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