The Shoprite Group says that it now generates enough electricity to power over 1,100 households for a year from solar energy – the equivalent of 12,300 MWh of electricity.
This follows the installation of rooftop PV (photovoltaic) panels at 19 sites in South Africa and Namibia.
Shoprite said it has also fitted 649 solar panels to the roofs of its refrigerated trucks, which generate 760 MWh annually – enough power to run 1,040 refrigerators for a full year.
These allow drivers to switch off truck ignitions at delivery locations, reducing noise and exhaust pollution, while keeping the cold chain intact.
There are now 18 stores throughout South Africa and Namibia in the group that harness the power of the sun for their operations. These include:
- Checkers Plettenberg Bay Mall;
- Checkers Sitari;
- Checkers Gordons Bay;
- Checkers Constantia;
- Checkers Hermanus;
- Checkers Whale Coast Mall;
- Shoprite Strand.
- Checkers Parys;
- Checkers Woodlands;
- Shoprite Parys.
- Shoprite Rustenburg
- Shoprite Devland
- Shoprite Kimberley;
- Shoprite Kathu
- Shoprite Oshakati;
- Shoprite Otjiwarongo;
- Shoprite Ongwediva;
- Shoprite Tsumeb.
The group’s largest installation, at its Basson distribution centre in Brackenfell, is a significant move to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.
Shoprite said that there are now enough solar panels at this distribution centre to cover an entire soccer field.
In a bid to find innovative ways to reduce electricity usage, the group has also replaced fluorescent lamps with energy-efficient LED lamps. The process cost R98.3 million, and in the four years since its inception has saved 83.8 million kWh of energy, it said.
“We recognise that climate change poses direct and indirect risks to our business and the communities we serve,” said Sanjeev Raghubir, sustainability manager for the Shoprite Group.
“Therefore we are taking measures to tread more lightly on our planet. Apart from these solar panel installations, we have also signed an agreement which will see the group procure 434,000 MWh of renewable energy per year for the next seven years.
“We are the first retailer to close such a deal, which is arguably the first of its kind in Africa.”