As part of its Earth Day celebration, Safeway Inc., one of the largest retail users of renewable energy, unveiled its two newest solar-powered grocery stores in Northern California.
Solar equipment at the stores provides about 20 percent of their average annual power usage and up to 48 percent of peak power usage.
Along with the solar store conversion, Safeway released two environmental reports. The annual “Investing in our Environment” environmental status report chronicles all sustainability efforts, including a broad recycling program in which the company recycled more than one million pounds of materials in 2007, equivalent to saving 8.5 million trees. The retailer also released a corporate social responsibility report.
The entire 23-store solar program will remove 12.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the air, the equivalent of taking 1,045 cars off the road annually.
The company is also one of the largest retail purchasers of wind energy, using 57 million kilowatt hours of wind energy, enough to power all 303 Safeway retail fuel stations, all stores in San Francisco, California and Boulder, Colorado, as well as all of the company headquarters and all corporate offices in Northern California.
Earlier this year, Safeway announced it would be the first major retailer to make its entire fleet of trucks operate on biodiesel fuels.