Roof space an untapped resource for supermarkets

From my local gym, I have a perfect view of the main, local shopping strip. What you see is rooftops – or as I consider them: business opportunity after business opportunity!  Unlike household rooftops – where it’s now commonplace to see solar panels – the rooftops of retail and business buildings tend to be blank slates.

Businesses have an amazing, untapped opportunity to slash power bills while also tackling climate change with clean, affordable and sustainable renewable energy. Think about the mega-supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths. They are in almost every town, and suburb across Australia. They generally own their own buildings (outside of shopping centres) and have rooftop space in abundance. These companies also need enormous, and constant amounts of electricity to power large-scale refrigerators, lighting and other electrical appliances every day. I’d hate to see their power bills!

Oddly enough, though, the bigger an energy consumer; the bigger the potential savings from solar. Particularly, if you need power in the middle of the day, when most shops operate. Spending money now on a solar system, means saving money on power every year. It’s also a selling point for customers. Most of us want pollution cut – and most of us peruse the local supermarket aisles for our weekly groceries.

Action needs to come from government, but it can also come from businesses. Add up a few individual businesses and – just like household rooftops collectively generate more than 7 gigawatts of solar – suddenly we’re talking big numbers. It’s slashing pollution and reducing demand on our energy grid and that’s good news for all Australians.

Imagine if every Coles and Woolworths in Australia jumped on board with solar energy. It’s good for the company, its customers and communities. That’s a win-win, right? 

Romy Stephens is a Monash University science and journalism student.