Coles to install solar panels on 100 stores in landmark agreement with Origin

by Sophie Berrill
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Coles and Origin have signed a landmark agreement that will see the companies co-invest in renewable energy and battery assets at up to 100 Coles supermarkets and liquor stores nationally.

Over the next three years, Coles aims to install 20 megawatts of solar panels on top of 100 stores across the country, with batteries to be installed at one third of the stores to capture and store excess renewable electricity generated on-site. 

Rooftop solar, batteries, and energy assets such as in-store heating, cooling and refrigeration systems will be connected to Origin’s virtual power plant to help ease pressure on the energy grid during peak periods of demand.

Alliance builds on previous gains for Coles

Coles has already installed solar panels on 87 stores across the country. Solar panel installation is currently underway at six Victorian stores, with installation at all 100 Coles supermarkets, Vintage Cellars, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market stores expected to be completed by 2026. 

The new alliance with Origin aims to help reduce each participating stores’ electricity use from the grid by around 20 percent on average and support Coles to achieve its 100 percent renewable electricity goals by June 2025. Coles have clarified that actual store results will be dependent on the specific energy needs of each store and the final size of the solar system deployed on the store’s roof. 

“Not only will this investment in renewables help us reduce our emissions, it will also lower our operational costs and allow us to meet more of our energy needs from our own on-site solar generation,” says Coles head of energy Jane Mansfield. 

A milestone for Origin

Under Origin, Origin Zero works with large businesses like Coles to help meet energy needs with solutions like solar, batteries, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and demand management.

Origin Zero executive general manager James Magill says this agreement with Coles is a landmark for Origin.

“This also marks Origin’s largest customer aggregation agreement providing Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), allowing us to orchestrate 10MW of flexible energy use across heating, cooling and refrigeration assets at select Coles stores, which helps to support stable and safe operations of the grid,” he says.

Other cleaner energy initiatives by Coles to help reduce emissions include electrification of gas assets, the trial of an electric delivery truck, as well as purchasing renewable electricity from wind and solar farms around the country.

In other energy news, the Victorian Government is banning new gas connections in all new homes and public buildings from 2024. 

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