Midcounties partners with Big Solar Co-op to fit panels at 29 sites

‘Together, we look forward to this collaboration and the impact it will have on our communities and the planet’

Midcounties Co-op has announced a partnership with Big Solar Co-op to instal solar panels at 29 food, travel, childcare and head office sites.

The deal, part of the co-op’s sustainability efforts, will provide enough renewable energy to meet around 5% of its electricity needs, it says. It estimates this will prevent 290 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year, supporting the society’s aims to cut direct greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by January 2026.

The partnership with Big Solar Co-op, which is a not-for-profit, volunteer-led organisation, will also reduce energy costs for the society – which hopes to cut electricity bills by around £180,000 per year by generating over 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity. 

The idea was suggested by Sam Webb, store manager at Midcounties’ Lydney site, as part of an initiative to identify opportunities to join forces with other UK co-ops to create a more circular future. Webb subsequently discussed the idea at the Global Innovation Co-op Summit.

Midcounties has so far established partnerships with more than 270 renewable community energy projects across the country through Younity, its joint venture with Octopus energy.

Big Solar Co-op aims to install 100mW of renewable community solar projects by 2030 and it is hoped the agreement with Midcounties will allow both co-ops to deepen their commitment to community energy generation.

Related: Midcounties Co-op announces 11% cut in energy use in a single year

Mike Pickering, head of sustainability at Midcounties, said: “The partnership between Midcounties and Big Solar Co-op demonstrates the power of co-operation in driving positive change.

“By integrating solar power generation into our operations, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint, but we are also furthering our commitment to building a fairer, more sustainable and ethical future. Together, we look forward to this collaboration and the impact it will have on our communities and the planet.”

Noel Lambert, community a d content Lead for Big Solar, said: “We can’t wait to get solar on roofs for Midcounties’, combatting climate change with clean, community energy and putting our Big Solar co-operative values into practice with this partnership feels especially powerful and fitting.”

Midcounties says it has reduced energy use by 11% in the past year, preventing more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. A further £800,000 will be invested in energy efficiency projects over the next 12 months as innovations are implemented across more stores.

Big Solar Co-op will attend Midcounties’ Fairer Living Festival at Walsall Football Club on Saturday 11 May. Click here for more information and to book a free place.