Work has started on a £120,000 energy project to install solar panels at eight Lincolnshire Co-op outlets, including Louth.
More than 320 photovoltaic panels will be fitted to the roofs of stores around the area by engineers from Freewatt Renewable Energy, based in Stow.
Work is currently underway at Market Rasen Foodstore and five other sites are due to be fitted with panels by the end of the year.
These include Newbridge Hill Foodstore in Louth, Long Sutton Foodstore, Riseholme Road Foodstore and Filling Station in Lincoln, Alford Foodstore and The Bridge Foodstore in Newark, as well as two other sites which are still to be chosen.
Each will have around 40 250w panels secured to the roof facing south.
When all eight sites are complete they are expected to produce in excess of 71,000 kWh of energy a year – enough to power 258 fridge freezers for a year.
Each year the solar panels are also predicted to save more than 37,000kg of Co2 which is equal to 21 years’ worth of Co2 generated by the average house.
The project follows Lincolnshire Co-op’s decision to have solar panels fitted to its Winning Post Foodstore and Filling Station, in Lincoln in April 2011. Since then these have produced 18,026 kWh of energy which could keep around six homes running for a year.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s Store Development Manager Matthew Wilkinson said: “Cutting our energy use is something we’re constantly working on, be it with more efficient freezers, LED lighting or Smart Meters to measure what energy we’re using and where.
“Every bit of green energy we produce helps the environment and we’re excited to be following on from our successful solar panel trial at Winning Post with eight more sites.”
Lincolnshire Co-op says it has worked hard to become energy efficient and it is one of approximately 650 organisations worldwide to be awarded with the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard which recognises organisations for real carbon reduction, based on a rigorous, independent assessment.
Freewatt Renewable Energy, based in Stow, has a wealth of experience of installing solar photovoltaic systems on domestic, commercial and historic buildings.
Freewatt CEO Julian Patrick said: “We are really excited to be working with Lincolnshire Co-op. The organisation shares many of our values about the community and the environment we live in so it’s fantastic to be a partner in this development. The Co2 reduction is good news for the environment and delivering this project is good news for a local business like Freewatt. It’s always great to work on a project where everyone is a winner.”