Solar supermarket sweep

3 min

Coles has signed a long term agreement to purchase more than 70% of the electricity generated by three solar power plants to be built outside the regional centres of Wagga Wagga, Corowa and Junee

Following on from our recent piece about Apple’s solar installation in Cupertino, California, we received a lot of great feedback asking for a local example, so we thought we’d focus on a project closer to home.

In a landmark agreement, and the first of its kind by an Australian retailer, the Coles Group has committed to purchase more than 70% of the electricity generated by three solar power plants in regional New South Wales – the equivalent of 10% of Coles’ national electricity usage.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said (in a media release) that the increased use of renewable energy was a major part of the company’s commitment to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia. “Over the past two financial years alone we have invested more than $40 million in energy efficiency measures including upgrading all store lighting to LED by the end of 2019 and the installation of solar panels on 30 stores.”

The supermarket giant has advised that construction on the three New South Wales solar plants is scheduled to begin in September, with the expectation that they’ll commence supplying power back to the grid in July 2020.

The Coles announcement comes at a time when many large and enterprise level companies in Australia are investing in renewable power and technology to keep their businesses energy and cost efficient, whilst also being more environmentally responsible. Recent reporting in the Guardian stated that a group of 41 retailers and businesses including Bunnings, Harvey Norman, Ikea and JB Hi-Fi planned an unprecedented joint electricity purchase in a bid to reduce costs. They also referenced a report that noted corporate power purchase agreements have supported 3,700 megawatts of clean energy since 2016, with the vast majority of those being new developments.

As per our recent 2019 Electricity Statement of Opportunity (ESOO), solar power - as the majority of new generation and capacity entering the market - continues to play a significant role in the National Electricity Market (NEM) from both a consumer and commercial perspective.


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*As the system and market operator, we are fuel and technology neutral. The products, services and providers in this content are for illustrative purposes only and are not endorsed by AEMO.
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