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Solar powered retail: keeping supermarkets sustainable and profitable

One of the fastest-growing and most promising commercial segments for solar energy applications is food retail. The logic is inescapable, with supermarkets consuming more electricity than almost any other retail sector. They need power 24/7 to preserve food in refrigerator and freezer cold cases, which can amount to more than 75% of their energy costs, estimated at around €182,000 per year per store. Plus there’s lighting, air heating and cooling systems, air distribution systems, computer systems and everything else needed to create the perfect, come-back-for-more shopping experience.

Food retailers are also a daunting source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major contributor to global warming. According to the EPA, a typical 46,000 square feet supermarket uses 2,346,000 kwh per year, creating 1,383 metric tonnes of C02, equaling the pollution produced by 308 gas-powered cars in one year. McKinsey adds that ‘…the grocery sector has a unique opportunity to become the driving force for decarbonization of the entire food system.’

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