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When the lights go out on Saturday 19 March between 20h30 and 21h30 to support the WWF’s international Earth Hour initiative the Shoprite Group will be doing their bit, as they do every evening.
As part of the Group’s standard operating procedure all non-essential lights in stores are switched-off at night, saving per hour an estimated 25 000 kWh across all their stores. This one hour of saved electricity is equivalent to driving 120 000km with an electric vehicle or one and a half times around the earth! On average these lights are switched-off for ten hours per evening, saving the same amount of electricity that 17 000 ordinary sized households would use.
The Group is continuously innovating and looking at opportunities to reduce its electricity usage, carbon footprint and impact on the environment. During the last four months two solar photovoltaic (PV) plants also went live at Checkers Kathu and Shoprite Kimberley. These plants generate electricity during sunshine hours which is fed into the shopping centre’s electricity grid, providing about 30% of the supermarkets electricity.
The Kimberley plant uses approximately 1 700 m2 of roof area and generates on average 990 kWh per day. This is equivalent to a day’s worth of electricity for 70 households or running 2 000 fridges for 24 hours. The plant in Kathu, which is about double in size, utilises 3 300 m2 of roof area and generates 2 306 kWh, enough to run 800 cycles of a washing machine or travel 10 000km in an electric car.
For safety reasons, the solar plants are only active when the utility provider is supplying electricity. At night and during power outages the plant goes into standby mode. The electricity generated by the solar plant is a complementary source of electricity that is always used first when available, reducing the consumption of electricity provided by the electricity utility. The solar plants will still be generating more than 90% of their original capacity after 20 years of operation. The project is a collaboration between the Shoprite Group, Mettle Solar and Sustainable Power Solutions.
An aerial view of the Kimberley plant that uses approximately 1 700 m2 of roof area and generates on average 990 kWh per day.