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Images courtesy of the Shoprite Group


One Million LED Lightbulbs Saves South Africa’s Shoprite Group $17.5 Million In Electricity Costs

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South Africa’s Shoprite Group is expanding its key environmental programs as part of its sustainability strategy. One of the major components of this strategy is the accelerated rollout of solar PV at its supermarkets and distribution centers, as well as the replacement of old lighting infrastructure with new LED lightbulbs.

Shoprite operates in 11 African countries. The Group has more than 2,900 stores across Africa. Some of the Shoprite Group’s famous customer-facing brands include Checkers, Shoprite, USave, OK, and House & Home. The Shoprite Group is South Africa’s largest retailer by market capitalization, sales, profit, and number of employees and customers.

The Shoprite Group has announced that it has reduced its electricity consumption by 11.8% following the installation of 1,001,932 energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs across 1,647 of its supermarkets and distribution centers nationwide. Initiatives like this, when scaled across several sectors across the country, will help ease pressure on the national electricity grid. For the Shoprite Group, the switch to LEDs generated savings of 164 million kWh and R346 million (US$17.5 million) in electricity costs for the Group during its 2022/2023 financial year.

“By taking a proactive stance in energy planning, the Shoprite Group has bolstered its stores’ energy resilience and adaptive capability to withstand both anticipated and unforeseen disruptions in energy supply and electricity tariffs,” said Sanjeev Raghubir, Sustainability Manager for the Shoprite Group. The retailer’s investment in its LED replacement project, which commenced in 2017, totals R371.1 million ($18.77 million)  to date, including R48.7 million ($2.46 million) over the past year.

“LED lamps are typically 50% more energy efficient than fluorescent lamps, and we encourage everyone to play their part in reducing their energy consumption to stabilise our national grid,” adds Raghubir. The adoption of LEDs forms part of the Group’s strategy to improve energy efficiency as much as possible and then to use renewable energy across its operations including distribution centers, trucks, and trailers. In addition to the LED installations, the retailer has more than doubled its installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems over the past two years. Currently, 71 sites covering 174,534 m² are equipped with solar PV, resulting in a total installed capacity of 32,321 kWp. This is sufficient to power 4,554 average-sized households annually.

The Shoprite Group aims to power 25% of its operations with renewable energy within the next five years as part of its commitment to reach science-based emission targets by 2050. Installing solar PV on trailers is also a priority for the retailer, as it enables drivers to switch off truck ignitions at delivery locations, reducing exhaust pollution while keeping the cold chain intact. In 2022, it expanded the number of trailers in its fleet equipped with solar PV to 1,041. These interventions have helped to reduce the Group’s electricity costs, increased efficiency, and enhanced business resilience.

It’s great to see these kinds of initiatives that optimize the overall use of available energy. Energy efficiency initiatives like these are some of the low hanging fruits that can unlock huge savings progressively. Operators of facilities that have a presence across thousands of sites tend to replace old lighting equipment in stages, as it can be quite a capital-intensive exercise, however, the benefits are clear — reduced consumption and lower electricity bills, especially in today’s environment of seemingly ever-increasing electricity tariffs.


Images courtesy of the Shoprite Group

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