Sainsbury’s installs its 100,000th solar panel

Sainsbury’s has announced that it has installed 100,000 solar panels across 210 of its supermarkets.

The panels represent 22MW of capacity and bolster the supermarket giant’s claim of being the UK’s largest operator of rooftop solar. The company estimates that solar arrays will slash 9,785 tonnes of CO2 off Sainsbury’s total emissions every year.

Commenting on the success of the supermarket’s solar scheme, Paul Crewe head of engineering, sustainability, energy and environment said: "We’ve achieved a 9.1% absolute reduction in electricity use over the past four years in our supermarkets, despite a 25% 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 supermarket giant began installing solar last year, with the rollout forming part of Sainsbury’s ambitious corporate target that aims to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30% absolute and 65% relative by 2020. The company also holds a wider ambition to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030.

Sainsbury's had previously expressed concerns about investing in its growing solar portfolio because of the tariffs planned by the European Commission on Chinese solar imports, which Crewe said “could have a significant and detrimental impact on the UK solar industry and jobs within the sector".