According to Sainsbury’s, the panels, enough to cover 35 football pitches, will help it reduce total CO2 emissions by an estimated 9,785 tonnes per year.

Sainsbury’s head of engineering, sustainability, energy and environment, Paul Crewe, 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 20×20 Plan.”

Welcoming the company’s news, Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker today launched the retailer’s twelth Ground Source Heat Pump at its store in London Colney in St. Albans.

Barker said: “I’m delighted to be here at Sainsbury’s London Colney store to officially launch its new ground source heat pump and to hear more about how the company is using energy more wisely, cutting emissions and powering its stores with clean green energy.

“Not only is Sainsbury’s increasing the amount of stores heated by renewable sources, it’s using solar panels on its roofs to generate energy too, with over 100,000 panels now up and running on over 200 stores,” added Barker.

The roll out of Ground Source Heat Pumps at 12 stores follows Sainsbury’s world-first use of the geo-thermal technology at its Crayford store, enabling it to supply 30% of its energy from on-site renewable sources.

It has also installed 74 biomass boilers since 2008, which use wood pellets to heat stores rather than using fossil fuel-based gas.

Sainsbury’s investment in onsite renewable energy technologies is part of its sustainability target to reduce operational carbon emissions by 30% absolute (and 65% relative) by 2020 compared with 2005. This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50% by 2030.

In May, Sainsbury’s announced that it had increased its Dual-Fuel fleet to 51 vehicles contributing a further saving of up to 25% in carbon emissions or 2,090 tonnes of CO2.

Leigh Stringer

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