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Sainsbury’s is largest solar operator in Europe

London, UK: Sainsbury’s has installed 69,500 solar panels at 169 UK stores making it the largest solar panel operator in Europe.

The panels will reduce Sainsbury’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 6,800 tonnes per year. The installations are part of Sainsbury’s target to reduce operational carbon emissions by 30%, and 65% by 2020 compared with 2005.

Justin King, chief executive, Sainsbury’s said: “We’ve already made real progress towards achieving our environmental commitments detailed in our stretching 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan. This solar rollout is another big step forward. It makes sense for us – it’s good for the environment and for our business and we are actively looking to install more panels.

“We believe the retail sector should take another look at solar energy as a viable way to reduce its impact on the environment. Supermarkets have the equivalent of football fields on their roofs, many of them underutilised. It’s a perfect time to turn that space into something positive.

“Big contracts like this support job creation in the renewable energy sector and are essential for our solar industry to thrive. We believe that we’ll see the cost of solar energy reaching parity with the grid on commercial installations like this in the next two and four years, and that may well herald a new boom in the solar industry.”

Earlier in July, Sainsbury’s announced the roll out of a geo-thermal heat pump technology at up to 100 stores, generating renewable energy from deep underground to provide heating and hot water.