THE Shoprite Group now generates enough electricity to power over 1 100 households – 12 300 MWh of electricity – a year from solar energy, following the installation of rooftop PV (photovoltaic) panels at 19 sites in South Africa and Namibia.
The Group 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, Sitari, Gordons Bay, Constantia, Hermanus and Whale Coast Mall and Shoprite Strand (Western Cape), Shoprite and Checkers Parys as well as Checkers Woodlands (Free State), Shoprite Rustenburg (North West), Shoprite Devland (Gauteng), Shoprite Kimberley and Kathu (Northern Cape) and Shoprite Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Ongwediva and Tsumeb (Namibia).
And the Group’s largest installation, at its Basson distribution centre in Brackenfell, is a remarkable move to reduce the company’s impact on the environment. There are now enough solar panels at this distribution centre to cover an entire soccer field, and the 7 706 m2 of panels have a generating capacity of 1MW.
“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,” says Sanjeev Raghubir, Sustainability Manager for the Shoprite Group.
In a bid to find innovative ways to reduce electricity usage, the Group has also replaced flourescent 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.
Shoprite recently scored an A- for its climate change and water security disclosures on the globally recognised CDP platform, which further underlines the retailer’s commitment to environmental sustainability.