Woolworths has installed a 272kW solar array, featuring more than 930 solar panels, on the roof of its Coffs Harbour store.
Woolworths has installed a 272kW solar array, featuring more than 930 solar panels, on the roof of its Coffs Harbour store.

Woolies cuts costs with Olympic pool sized solar array

If you think keeping the airconditioning on in your house is expensive, think about how much it costs to keep an entire supermarket ice-cool during a heatwave.

“From store lighting and airconditioning to food refrigeration and preparation, there is no doubt supermarkets are energy intensive to run,” Woolworths Coffs Harbour store manager Cheryl Kendall said.

So in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and cut costs, the Coffs Harbour store has installed the mother of all solar arrays – a whopping 272kW system featuring 938 panels spanning 1600 square metres.

To put that into perspective, the average home solar system is around 5kW with some retailers now reporting 8-10kW systems are becoming the most popular.

The Olympic pool-sized system at Woolworths has the capacity to generate more than 390 megawatt hours of electricity each year – and it will offset 21 per cent of the store’s energy consumption.

“In recent years we’ve been working to run our stores more sustainably, and energy use is a big part of the effort,” Ms Kendall said.

“We’re investing in more efficient refrigeration and lighting systems, and harnessing the power of renewables across the network too.

“It will not only reduce the store’s environmental footprint, but also help keep costs down.”

Energy efficient LED lighting has now been installed across more than 800 supermarkets, which has reduced energy consumption in each store by around 10-15 per cent.

The Coffs Harbour store is one of more than 150 Woolworths Group sites now generating energy from solar power across Australia and is step towards Woolworths Group’s efforts to cut their total emissions by 63 per cent by 2030.