Coles and Origin to install solar panels on 100 stores

Smiling woman and man in high-vis vests on top of Coles supermarket roof with solar panels in the background (Origin)
Coles Head of Energy Jane Mansfield with Origin Zero Executive General Manager James Magill

Supermarket and liquor major Coles and energy producer Origin have signed a landmark agreement which 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 20MW 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 onsite.

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Coles’ 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.

The alliance between Coles and Origin aims to help reduce each participating stores’ electricity use from the grid by around 20% on average and support Coles to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goals by June 2025.

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.

Origin is one of Australia’s leading energy companies with the ambition to lead the energy transition through cleaner energy and customer solutions. Origin Zero is the part of Origin that works with large businesses like Coles to help meet their energy needs and support them on their journey to net zero with solutions like solar, batteries, energy efficiency, EVs and demand management.

Origin Zero executive general manager James Magill said Origin is thrilled to be working with Coles to support its transition to cleaner and smarter energy solutions.

“This is a landmark alliance between two of Australia’s leading retailers across supermarkets and energy which will see the companies co-invest in renewable energy and battery assets to help deliver greater emissions reductions for Coles,” he said.

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“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.”

The  announcement builds on the solar panels Coles already has installed on 87 stores across the country. 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.

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