East of England Co-op store goes green with new solar panel installation

The store’s new solar panels are expected to generate 122,000kWh of electricity a year

The East of England Co-op supermarket in Brightlingsea, Essex, is benefiting from zero-carbon electricity after the installation of a set of solar panels on its roof.

The 130.4Wp solar panel installation is expected to generate 122,000kWh of electricity a year which will power the store’s lights, heating, fridges and tills. 

Brightlingsea is the first of three East of England stores to be getting solar panels; it will be joined by Long Stratton and Acle in Norfolk later this year, with a further two feasibility studies under way for stores in Suffolk.

East of England, whose headquarters are in Suffolk, was able to finance the supply and installation of the solar panels through Suffolk County Council’s Renewable Energy Fund. 

Steven Fendley, the retail society’s head of sustainability, said: “Very soon after the installation went live the store went green for the first time, meaning it was running entirely on zero-carbon electricity generated on site. As we move towards the summer and enjoy more sunshine, this will happen more and more and we will be able to reduce our use of imported electricity. 

“In total, we anticipate the three solar panel installations taking place this year will generate over 200,000 kWh and save around 45 tonnes of CO2e emissions each year. I’d like to thank Suffolk County Council for supporting local business through this fund and championing a net zero future.”

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and environment said that following the fund’s first solar panel venture at the University of Suffolk, it is “exciting to see another installation completed – it’s a big team effort as we all work towards reducing our carbon emissions as much as possible.

“I’m pleased that we’re in a position to support the East of England Co-op on its journey as it moves its stores across to greener energy. I hope these initial installations will enable more to be rolled out across some of their 70 stores in Suffolk.”

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