Britain’s biggest co-operative society the Co-op has signed a 15 year power purchase deal to draw all the output from a Yorkshire solar farm.

The organisation, which embraces grocery retailing, distribution and funeral home operation, will see its outlets part-supplied from developer Voltalia’s new 34 MWp farm at Eastgate, near Scarborough.

Co-operative ownership guarantees each member a vote in important strategic decisions and in annual leadership elections.  Voting rights are independent of the cash value of shares held.

Voltalia has begun installation of Eastgate’s planned 625,000 panels.  The first of its annual output rated at 34,000 MWh will flow by 2025, ready to meet around 7.5% of the national organisation’s consumption, spread across its 170 Co-op food stores and 500 funeral homes.

En route to making its own operations carbon neutral by 2035, the Co-op also continues to call for energy market reform.

Quoted on the Paris stock market, Voltalia has generating capacity of more than 2.7 GW in operation or under construction in four renewables technologies.  It controls a pipeline of projects under development representing a total capacity of 16.1 GW.

Its CEO Sébastien Clerc said: “We are very proud to support the Co-op in their Net Zero target by providing clean electricity in the food industry, reaching millions of individuals and enabling us to raise awareness of more sustainable and responsible consumption.

From his client, Co-op group CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq replied: “The signing of this corporate PPA is 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“, said the Co-op boss.


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