Origin teams with Coles on 20 MW solar and battery rollout
Origin Energy and supermarket giant Coles have partnered to deploy 20 MW of solar at up to 100 supermarkets and liquor stores throughout Australia in a deal that will allow the energy gentailer to use excess electricity generated by the installs to ease pressure on the grid during peak demand periods.
Origin and Coles have signed an agreement to co-invest in 20 MW of solar, plus battery energy storage systems, and enable demand management by connecting the assets to Origin’s in-house virtual power plant (VPP).
Over the next three years, Coles aims to install 20 MW of solar panels on top of 100 of its stores across Australia, with battery energy storage systems to be installed at about one third of those stores to capture and store excess renewable electricity generated on-site.
Origin Zero Executive General Manager James Magill said Coles’ rooftop solar, batteries, and other controllable energy assets such as in-store heating, cooling and refrigeration systems will be connected to Origin’s VPP, with excess generation used to help ease pressure on the grid during peak periods of demand.
“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,” Magill said.
“This also marks Origin’s largest customer aggregation agreement providing frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), allowing us to orchestrate 10 MW 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 installation of solar panels is currently underway at six Victorian stores, with Coles anticipating that 20 sites will be completed by next year with installs at all 100 stores to be completed by 2026.
Coles Head of Energy Jane Mansfield said the benefits of the initiative, which builds on the rooftop solar already installed on 87 of the retailer’s Australian stores, will go beyond reducing the group’s electricity consumption from the grid.
“Not only will this investment in renewables help us reduce our emissions, it will also lower our operational costs and allow us to meet more of our energy needs from our own on-site solar generation,” she said.
Mansfield said the initiative is expected to help reduce each participating stores’ electricity use from the grid by about 20% on average and support Coles to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goals by June 2025.