Aldi UK has pledged to install solar on more than 50 stores by the end of 2017, in addition to all nine of its regional distribution centres and more than 275 stores across the UK.

Aldi UK has marked the fourth Solar Independence Day with the announcement that it will install a further 11,000 solar panels across more than 50 of its stores by the end of the year.

The supermarket has already installed more than 85,000 solar panels on all nine of its regional distribution centres and more than 275 stores across the UK, generating over 17,500 MWh of electricity a year.

This deployment will now be extended by the end of the year, bringing its total store investment in solar to almost £17 million and saving more than 8,100 tonnes of CO2 in the process.

Mary Dunn, communications director at Aldi UK, said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and harnessing the power of solar energy is just one of the ways we’re doing that.

“It also means that we are using all of our distribution centres and more than a third of our stores across the UK to generate electricity from solar power, marking a further significant step in our journey to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020, while continuing to grow.”

The announcement comes as the Solar Trade Association (STA) celebrates 2017’s Solar Independence Day, intended to draw attention to the successes of UK solar. 

According to MyGridGB, which tracks the amount of electricity produced from solar and other low carbon sources, solar supplied 6.5% of the UK’s electricity over the last month. Almost one million homes, businesses and schools are thought to have solar on their roofs, while ground mount solar has grown exponentially in recent years to reach in excess of 12.5GW of total UK solar.

Leonie Greene, STA's head of external affairs, said: “This is the fourth year we’ll be celebrating solar and the British solar industry has delivered spectacularly, despite a rocky ride. Since the first Solar Independence Day in 2014 solar power capacity has grown nearly three-fold.

“Our message today is that solar delivers real energy independence and the power to act on climate change to people, communities and organisations everywhere and indeed to the UK itself. But it’s over to everyone else on Solar Independence Day to tell us why solar matters to them.”

To mark the occasion, clean energy supplier Octopus Energy has supplied all of its customers with just solar power from its vast portfolio of UK solar farms.

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy, said: “We're delighted to mark Solar Independence Day by supplying all of our Octopus Energy customers with solar power at noon, making them wholly independent of fossil fuels.

“The good news is that people shouldn't have to pay extra for clean energy and a safe climate. Solar is now only a little more expensive than gas and we believe passionately that consumers deserve fairly priced energy from renewable sources.”

Various other participants are taking to Twitter using #SolarIndependenceDay to share their celebrations.