Tesco announces solar power project to enhance renewables capacity

The project will involve Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with renewables investors. Already, Tesco has started using onsite and offsite PPAs to increase direct renewable electricity generation.

The initiative has kicked off with the Thetford store fitted with more than 1,000 solar panels as part of a PPA with Atrato Onsite Energy.

Construction will begin before year-end on four more stores, set to generate an additional 2 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity. This adds to the existing 40 Tesco stores equipped with solar panels, generating 10.5GWh of solar electricity in the last year, equivalent to powering 3,800 homes.

Tesco Group’s chief executive officer Ken Murphy said: “As we all face into the effects of climate change, scaling up our use of clean renewable energy has never been more important.

“That’s why we are continuing our work to source green electricity from our own estate, setting out ambitious plans to install solar panels on the roofs of 100 of our large stores across the UK over the next three years – moving us further towards our target to be carbon neutral in our own operations by 2035.”

The latest five stores to receive solar panels are Thetford, Stevenage, Wisbech, Kings Lynn, and Stockport. Each installation is expected to generate between approximately 275 megawatt-hour (MWh) and 660MWh of renewable electricity per year.

The global retailer highlights that long-term PPAs are crucial in sourcing renewable electricity, ensuring procurement over about 20 years.

After surpassing its 2030 target of adopting 100% renewable electricity in its operations earlier than planned, Tesco is now striving to increase the proportion of renewable electricity directly sourced.

Atrato Partners’ managing director Gurpreet Gujral said: “Tesco has made impressive progress in its ambitious journey towards net-zero, and we are proud to be working together to deliver the next phase of a solar rollout across their portfolio of supermarkets.

“As the UK’s leading food retailer, Tesco’s adoption of onsite solar will have a significant impact on emissions, and we look forward to supporting the business over the coming years to bring clean, traceable energy to more sites up and down the country.”

Beyond solar panels, the retail giant is implementing air source heat pumps to replace gas heating boilers, introducing customer EV charge points, and using electric dotcom home delivery vans.

Earlier this year, Tesco revealed a set of net-zero targets, approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), committing to achieve carbon neutrality within its operations by 2035 and across its value chain by 2050.

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