Source: Central Co-op

It is currently working with Sol PV Group to carry out a solar panel rollout programme

Central Co-op is looking to light up homes in communities using energy generated from solar panels across its estate.

The society is currently working with Sol PV Group to carry out a solar panel rollout programme, following trials at its Dersingham and Weeping Cross food stores, and expects to install the technology across 180 stores by autumn this year.

“We want to continue to grow our sustainable energy capacity, to eventually be in a position where we can support our communities too,” said Central Co-op CEO Debbie Robinson. “We’ll look at different technologies where we can make energy savings and efficiencies, and prioritise investment to align to our goal of energy self-sufficiency.”

“We see our goal of being green energy self-sufficient as an exciting target, and know that to deliver on this, we’ll need to be agile.

“We look at every store regeneration or new store development to see how we can adapt the format of each to allow us to make incremental shifts towards our goal.”

She said the society would also remain open to other technology solutions that aligned to its purpose of “creating a sustainable society for all”, such as solar carports, as well as other emerging technologies including hydro and micro wind turbines.

Robinson said the goal to feed the solar energy back into communities fell in line with other existing initiatives that aim to bring value to customers, such as investing in price for members. 

After reducing prices for over 50 products at the end of 2022, Central Co-op recently extended the price cuts to over 100 items, including a four-pint carton of milk at £1.50, six medium free-range eggs at £1, and a loaf of bread for 75p. These member prices will be locked until Easter.

“We have made significant investments in member pricing to make an immediate difference to members buying everyday essentials at a time when they need it most, facing into the cost of living crisis and energy price increases,” said Robinson.