What made you choose to install solar panels on the roofs of your stores?
For around ten years now, our company has been committed to finding solutions to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings. We began by implementing measures to obtain LEED certification, which attests to the sustainability of buildings. At the time, installation costs for solar panels were still prohibitively high. We have therefore used other means to reduce our carbon footprint over the years, such as sustainable air conditioning systems and reduced energy consumption, but also by sorting waste, purifying water, etc.
Then, one day, our communications manager at Kasikorn Bank told us about an opportunity to install solar panels with an attractive technical support package. This measure conformed to our general strategy and we therefore decided to install panels at 13 of our sites across Thailand.
Why is it important for you to improve your energy efficiency?
There are two reasons for our commitment. The first is an environmental one. We do not know if the electricity we usually use comes from sustainable sources or other sources (fossil fuel). With solar panels, we can manage this variable and be self-sufficient. For example, since January, we have avoided 1,607 tonnes/eq of CO2 emissions – the equivalent of planting 5,024 trees. And it is only March!
The second is an economic reason. By doing this, we are not subject to variations in the price of electricity and we can reduce our costs. We have already saved 12 million Bahts [the equivalent of 307,000 Euros] since the beginning of the year.
Was the support provided for the project purely financial?
No, we also had the support of a technical expert, through AFD’s technical assistance service, who helped us at each step of the installation, from evaluating suppliers’ proposals, to prices and technical requirements. We were not experts in this field, so it proved very useful.
We would now like to take things further, by building on what we have learned. Rather than implementing measures in existing stores, we would like to create new stores which are as energy-efficient as possible from the outset. This means choosing the right insulation materials, orienting the roof towards the sun in order to optimize the position of the solar panels, and painting the walls white to reduce heat absorption, thus reducing the temperature.