The Southern Co-operative is installing solar panels on four of its buildings to reduce its carbon footprint and protect it from energy price hikes.
The solar PV panels will be fitted on stores in White Dirt Lane, Clanfield; Eastney Road, Portsmouth; Hambledon Road, Denmead; and its crematorium in East Devon.
The society says more stores could be fitted with solar in 2020.
Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications, said: “This is an exciting move forward in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions with the added benefit that it can help our business become more sustainable in the future.
““It is expected that the four initial solar panel installations will reduce our CO2 emissions by 17 tonnes in year one. This would add up to an incredible 375 tonnes over 25 years – the expected lifespan of solar panels.”
Reducing its carbon footprint is one of the society’s key commitments in its five-year sustainability plan, which was launched last year.
It is already using movement sensors to control lighting in stockrooms and employee areas and has installed improved doors for refrigeration and aerofoils on open-fronted chillers where glass doors are not suitable.
Project manager Emma McVie said: “As a long standing regional operator, to embark on our pilot programme with our team of contractors is exciting. It is also a further demonstration of our commitment to our long term sustainable business strategy.
“The initial pilot should pay for itself within six to seven years so we very much hope this can be rolled out across our other retail and funeralcare stores in the years to come.”