Solar power is an excellent source of electricity for grocery stores, as stores tend to consume the most electricity on sunny summer days when the plants’ production is also at its highest. To ensure sufficiently cool conditions for products, stores require more electricity in the summer than, for example, office buildings. Typically, solar power plants hit full production for the first time in mid-May.
“In the summer, a solar power plant’s production can cover as much as 60% of a store’s daily electricity use. This year, June was exceptionally sunny in Finland, which resulted in record production by the plants. Of course this was also partly due to the fact that we have invested heavily in solar power plants over the course of the year,” says Jukka Anttila, head of store sites at K Group.
K Group has invested heavily in solar power in recent years. There are currently 34 solar power plants located at K-store properties, and two more are under construction. The combined power of the plants is approximately 12.7 MWp, and the electricity production capacity is some 10.8 GWh. Plans for additional plants are underway, and the number of plants should total 40 by the end of the year.
“New plants at K-Citymarket Mäntsälä and K-Citymarket Rusko in Oulu will be ready this autumn. Whenever we build a store, we examine the possibilities of installing a solar power plant there,” says Anttila.
The biggest emissions from K Group’s own operations are related to electricity and heat used in properties and fuel consumption in logistics transports. In spring 2020, K Group introduced updated, ambitious new emissions reduction targets: K Group aims to become carbon neutral by 2025, with net zero own emissions by 2030.
A key step in achieving the targets is increasing the use of renewable energy. All electricity purchased by Kesko for K-stores and other Kesko properties in Finland has been renewable since the beginning of 2017.
Earlier this spring K Group announced it will increase its share of renewable electricity also by committing to purchasing wind power from a new wind farm to be built in Finland for the next 15 years.