K-Group to be Finland’s biggest producer of solar power

In December, the K-Group has started the building of seven new solar utilities on the roofs of K-food stores. By summer 2017, there will be as many as 15 solar utilities operating in connection with K-food stores. The new investments will make the K-Group the biggest producer and user of solar power in Finland.

A new solar utility will be built on the roofs of K-Citymarket Kupittaa and K-Citymarket Länsikeskus in Turku, K-Citymarket Linnainmaa in Tampere, K-Citymarket Kokkola, K‑supermarket Peltola in Järvenpää, K-supermarket Niipperi in Espoo and K‑supermarket Toppila in Oulu. All of the solar utilities will be ready by the end of the year, except those of K-Citymarket Kokkola and K-Citymarket Linnainmaa, which will be completed by summer 2017.

In the future, K-food stores will have a total of 15 solar utilities with 13,489 solar panels on their roofs. The utilities’ total annual electricity production is 3,559 MWh, which corresponds to the annual electricity consumption over more than 179 detached houses.  When running optimally, the solar utilities produce a combined peak power of 4,037 kWp. The utilities generate electricity for the K-food stores’ needs.

The solar utilities built for the Turku Kupittaa and Länsikeskus K-Citymarkets will be the biggest in Finland. At the same time, electric car charging points using solar power will be available in the car park of these stores for their customers. Earlier on, cars could be charged with solar power from the solar utility of K-Citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa.

Good experiences of solar power

– The solar utility installation projects completed earlier this year went well, which is why we decided to increase the number of solar utilities operating in connection with store sites. The new utilities will make the K-Group by far the biggest producer and user of solar power in Finland, says Jukka Anttila, Kesko’s Construction and Maintenance Director.

– Solar electricity is excellently suitable as the source of electricity for a food store. A store’s electricity consumption in cooling and refrigeration, for example, is highest when the sun is shining and the utility’s production is at its peak, says Anttila.

Nearly 20 years of solar power in the K-Group

The first solar utility on the roof of a K-food store was built for K-Citymarket Lielahti in Tampere in 1997 and it is still in use. A solar utility has a long life cycle, even around 35 years. Modern technology enables production also in cloudy weather and in winter. The solar panels to be installed on the K-food store roofs will cover around 10-15% of the store’s annual electricity consumption. On a sunny summer day, solar power can cover as much as 60% of the food store's consumption.

Solar utilities and their installation come from three suppliers, namely Solnet Green Energy Oy, Solarigo Systems Oy and Aii Energy Systems.

Investments in solar power promote the production of renewable energy and mitigate climate change. In order to reduce energy consumption, stores are adding lids to refrigeration equipment, such as freezers and refrigeration cabinets, as well as enhancing the remote monitoring of refrigeration units and facility services in order to achieve optimal energy consumption, as well as increasing the use of LED lighting that saves energy.

Kesko participates in the 2017–2025 action plan of the commerce sector Energy Efficiency Agreement. In accordance with the agreement, Kesko commits itself to reducing its energy consumption by 7.5% through various saving measures. All K-Group store chains are included in the agreement.

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