Massmart has become one of the biggest producers of renewable energy within the South African retail sector, with the unveiling of its latest photovoltaic (PV) project.

Recently, the 480 kilowatt-hour (kWh) peak plant at Makro Strubens Valley, consisting of 147 car park-mounted polycrystalline PV panels, came online. The plant provides for nearly half of the store’s daily energy requirements and is estimated to provide 24 percent of the store’s total annual energy consumption.

The Group’s first solar plant went live in 2016 at Makro Carnival in Brakpan, Gauteng. Today, Massmart has a total of six solar plants and, together, they have the capacity to generate approximately 4,4-million kWh of renewable energy a year.

Alexander Haw, Massmart sustainability executive, says: “The rollout of commercially-viable renewable energy solutions at selected stores is in line with a broader commitment to reduce the Groups environmental footprint.

“Since 2010, Massmart has been greening a significant amount of stores and distribution centres with the aim of minimising its environmental footprint and reducing costs. The Group has achieved this by ensuring that energy efficiency and water conservation remain a key priority.”

Massmart’s water-conservation methods involve the capture and reuse of rainwater from store rooftops and condensation from refrigeration plants. According to the retailer, these efforts have saved more than 50-million litres of water and produced approximately four-million kWh of renewable energy in the past three years.

“Water and energy insecurity is a growing concern in South Africa. Not only are we among the world’s 30 driest countries, we are also among the top 20 energy intensive countries. That is why we are intent on materially lessening the Group’s collective footprint through reusing water and reducing our energy consumption,” concludes Haw.

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