Super Value saves $400k through warehouse solar


Tribune Business Reporter


SUPER Value’s president says it has slashed its annual energy bill by $400,000 through installing solar panels on its warehouse and is now seeking to roll-out renewable energy at all its 13 stores.

Debra Symonette told the Energy Expo 2023 conference that volatility and uncertainty around global oil prices, the main driver of electricity costs, made the choice to go solar an easy one for the supermarket chain.

She said: “There are a number of steps, which are recommended, that are currently being used by some of us in the industry to combat what we call the energy challenge. Just to start with, changing out old appliances. Old appliances use more energy than the newer, more energy efficient models.

“For example, we changed our open display cases to cases with clear sliding doors. The doors save energy by keeping the cool air in. We retrofitted some of the older cases with plastic doors so that we could close them at night. The fact is, if you leave your refrigerator open, the compressor will never cut off, resulting in much higher energy usage.

Ms Symonette continued: “Insulation of buildings. Not only can insulation help improve energy efficiency, but it can improve air quality and prevent moisture and mould problems, which are both important for our customers and staff.

“Old lighting can be replaced with energy efficient lighting. We are finding that our LED lights use 40 percent less energy than the old ones that we used. They also produce less heat, which helps the air conditioning system. Motion detectors can be installed to automatically switch off lights when they’re not in use.

“You can also make use of solar power. The installation of solar panels on the roof of our warehouse has saved us around $400,000 annually, and we have undertaken a project to install solar on all of our stores.” Energy costs account for up to 7 percent of Super Value’s total expenses. “We’re anticipating a very significant increase in electricity rates in the near future; I think it’s going to be around 60 percent,” Ms Symonette said.

The retail grocery sector needs energy on a consistent 24-hour, seven days per week basis it needs to keep perishable items refrigerated. These make up 50 percent of the items sold at grocery stores, thus making the industry one of Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) most valuable customers.

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