Sainsbury’s has installed 100,000 photovoltaic solar panels (22 mWp) across 210 stores - enough to cover 35 football pitches.
These will help reduce Sainsbury’s total CO2 emissions by an estimated 9,785 tonnes per year as it retains its status as the largest multi-roof solar panel operator in Europe.
Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker welcomed the news during a visit to Sainsbury’s store at London Colney in St. Albans where he officially launched the retailer’s 12th ground-source heat pump.
Sainsbury’s head of engineering, sustainability, energy and environment Paul Crewe said: “We’ve achieved a 9.1 per cent absolute reduction in electricity use over the past four years in our supermarkets, despite a 25 per cent increase in space, and we’re really seeing the benefits from using our underutilised space for solar panels, and from the other renewable technologies we’ve installed.
“We believe they are fundamental to the sustainability of our business and there is a strong commercial case for using each technology.
“They are helping us cut carbon emissions and energy bills and achieve the environmental targets we set ourselves in our stretching 20x20 Plan. It’s good news for the environment and is supporting job creation in the UK’s renewable energy sector.”
The roll out of ground-source heat pumps at 12 stores follows Sainsbury’s successful world-first use of the geo-thermal technology at its Crayford store, enabling it to supply 30 per cent of its energy from on-site renewable sources.
It has also installed 74 biomass boilers since 2008, which use wood pellets - a renewable resource - to heat stores rather than using fossil fuel-based gas.
Sainsbury’s investment in onsite renewable energy technologies is part of its ambitious sustainability target to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute (and 65 per cent relative) by 2020 compared with 2005.
This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50 per cent by 2030.