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Fresh & Easy Stores to Install Solar Panels

Grocery chain Fresh & Easy plans to install roof-mounted solar energy systems on nine of its Arizona stores.

The retailer has contracted with REC Solar to install the hardware, which will generate about 410 kW of power. Fresh & Easy expects the systems to produce 620,000 kWh a year, the equivalent of 22 million pounds of CO2 emissions over 25 years.

Installation will begin in March 2011 at stores in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and Avondale, Arizona.

A roof-mounted solar installation already provides about a fifth of the energy for Fresh & Easy’s 500,000 sq ft distribution center in Riverside, California, the company says.

Its website features a live feed reporting the energy performance of the panels.

“Through innovations like these, Fresh & Easy has been able to cut back on the amount of energy and water we use, efficiencies that are better for the environment and help us keep our prices low for our customers,” said CEO Tim Mason.

The chain said its stores already use 30% less energy than a typical supermarket. They use LED lighting in freezer cases and external signs and offer customer recycling in every store.

Last September, Fresh & Easy introduced naturally-occurring CO2 refrigeration to one of its Southern California stores.

It opened its first LEED Gold store last year and has joined the Climate Registry and the California Climate Action Registry to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions.

Fresh & Easy is a division of British supermarket giant Tesco.

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