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Retailer Coles commits to solar panels

Coles’ head of energy Jane Mansfield with Origin Zero executive general manager James Magill 

AUSTRALIA: Supermarket group Coles has signed an agreement with Australian energy company Origin which will see the companies co-invest in renewable energy and battery assets at Coles stores.

Over the next three years, Coles aims to install 20MW of solar panels on top of 100 its supermarkets and liquor stores across the country, with batteries to be installed at one third of the stores to capture and store excess renewable electricity generated on-site. 

Coles’ rooftop solar, batteries, and energy assets such as in-store heating, cooling and refrigeration systems will be connected to Origin’s virtual power plant to help ease pressure on the energy grid during peak periods of demand.    

The alliance between Coles and Origin aims to help reduce each participating stores’ electricity use from the grid by around 20% on average and support Coles to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goals by June 2025.  

Solar panel installation is currently underway at six Victorian stores, with installation at all 100 Coles supermarkets, Vintage Cellars, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market stores expected to be completed by 2026. 

“This also marks Origin’s largest customer aggregation agreement providing frequency control ancillarys services, allowing us to orchestrate 10MW of flexible energy use across heating, cooling and refrigeration assets at select Coles stores, which helps to support stable and safe operations of the grid,” said Origin Zero executive general manager James Magill.   

Today’s announcement builds on the solar panels Coles already has installed on 87 stores across the country. 

Coles says that the majority of its new-build stores now use “natural” refrigerants, while all new store refurbishments are converted to lower GWP or “natural” refrigerants where “practical and commercially” viable. 

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