Co-op signs solar farm deal as it calls for energy market reform

Co-op has agreed a 15-year deal for the entire output of a 34-megawatt solar farm, which will help power more than 170 of its food stores and 500 Funeralcare homes.

The agreement with international renewable energy specialist Voltalia will see the convenience retailer sourcing electricity from the Eastgate Solar project near Scarborough, which is currently under construction.

Expected to be completed by 2025, the farm will feature 62,500 solar panels. When all are operating at maximum capacity, they will provide 34,000 megawatt hours of electricity – enough to supply up to 7.5% of Co-op’s total electricity needs per year.

Co-op’s commitment will unlock the investment required to build the solar plant and will help to add additional renewable generation to the UK.

The retailer has called for energy market reform, and is working towards reaching net zero for its operations by 2035.

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Co-op group CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq said said the signing of the deal marks “a significant milestone demonstrating Co-op’s goal to green the energy grid and create transparency in the renewable energy market”.

“Not only will this agreement unlock more green energy, it will also enable energy security, drive economic growth and move us closer to net zero.”

“That’s why we still believe that grid decarbonisation should be an absolute priority for the government.

“While the significant progress the UK has made to date is to be applauded, as a country we remain too reliant on fossil fuels, and ambitious targets alone won’t deliver the benefits that a net zero grid will deliver, from energy security to lower generation costs to the better outcome for the planet that’s so desperately needed.”

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