Leading Swiss supermarket chain reduces carbon footprint with ABB solar solutions

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One of the largest retailers in Switzerland, Coop, has adopted ABB solar inverter technology as part of the company’s ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2023. Solar solutions from ABB, a technology leader in digital industries have helped Coop to reach an energy self-consumption rate of 90 percent.

By strengthening its solar capacity with photovoltaic (PV) installations of 20’000 sqm on 19 stores, Coop aims to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption by 20 percent during 2019. This latest project will also help Coop to meet its other sustainability targets, including halving its CO2 emissions and increasing the proportion of renewable energy it uses to 80 percent, with the overall aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2023.

The installations, located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, near the French border, and the other in Etagnières, in the district of Gros-de-Vaud, include solar panels being installed onto the roof of the two Coop stores and into the façade in Etagnières. The solar inverters from ABB are part of the solution helping the company reach an energy self-sufficiency rate of 90 percent in Etagnières — 20 percentage points higher than the average commercial application.

Adopting solar power has become increasingly important for Coop. To meet its ambitious target for renewable energy, the company decided to use solar energy to power 35 of its facilities including 19 retail stores across the region.

David Guthörl, head of energy in the sustainability unit at Coop, said: “Over the last decade, we have already reduced the average amount of energy we use for cooling in our stores and have made our product ranges and transport systems more sustainable. We were looking to work with our energy partners and use photovoltaics to power more of our stores. This latest investment has taken us one step closer towards our 2023 goal by adopting efficient renewable technologies.”

Working alongside leading photovoltaic (PV) planner, energiebüro ag, and installer, Helion on the two sites in Etagnières and La Chaux-de-Fonds, ABB installed seven ABB PVS-100 three-phase outdoor string inverters to service an installed base of 770 kWp, featuring more than 2,500 panels.

“Our intelligent solar inverters are ideal for this type of high intensity application,” explains Giampiero Frisio, head of ABB’s Smart Power business line. “Our focus is on writing the future of energy with safe, smart and sustainable solutions and we are delighted that Coop is now reaping the reward of our pioneering technologies.”

The PVS-100 range provides an ABB Ability™ cloud connected inverter solution for cost efficient decentralized photovoltaic systems and is suitable for both large-scale commercial and industrial ground mounted and rooftop applications. Launched in 2018, the inverter technology offers a unique six-in-one, sun-to-socket solution, meeting increasing market demand for cost-effective platforms offering high-power string inverters.

Noah Heynen from Helion said: “We have been working with ABB for several years and its products are proven to deliver reliable and performance ready inverters which help our customers gain the maximum plant efficiencies. The built-in monitoring capabilities of the PVS-100 were also a key draw for us on this project as they enable Coop to control and manage energy consumption rates, remotely and according to need.”

At Coop Switzerland, ABB PVS-100 technology is converting the direct current and the voltage from the solar panels into alternating current which can be fed back into the grid and help companies, like Coop, manage self- consumption to take control of energy and costs, thereby reducing OPEX costs.

Since installation, Coop has already reduced its electricity costs and carbon footprint and plans are in place to add an additional 20,000 m2 of solar capacity during 2019.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. www.abb.com