The supermarket is located in Finland where it has been developed by the country's VTT Technical Research Centre.
The supermarket consumes only 40 percent of the energy of a normal grocery store, saving the retailer around 180,000 euros in energy costs. The technology is now ready for use on commercial premises in general.
The pilot supermarket in Oulu is part of S Group, whose stores use a total of around 1.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year, whereas the state railway company, VR, uses around 0.76 TWh on its trains. Total electricity consumption throughout Finland is around 85 TWh, of which S Group uses around 2 percent. If the same concept were introduced in all S Group grocery stores, this would have a major effect on Finland's energy balance.
According to Seppo Jakola, Premises Manager of the regional retail firm, Osuuskauppa Arina, annual electricity consumption in this energy-saving pilot, totals 240 kWh per square metre, which is close to the consumption of a normal residence, whereas a normal grocery store consumes 600 kWh a year.
“On a sunny day, half of all electricity consumed by the low-energy supermarket is coming from the solar panels installed on the roof” said Project Manager and solar power plant designer Klaus Känsälä of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. If all grocery stores in the S Group chain consumed 240 kilowatt hours, their electricity consumption would halve
Energy use can be managed by levelling out consumption peaks on the power grid and the solar energy even enables the occasional disconnection of the shop’s cold chain from grid electricity, for example, in the mornings, when energy prices are low, which is the best time to store kilowatts for later use.
The project is part of the larger VIRPA project and will end in April next year. In addition to VTT, the University of Oulu and, from the private sector, Fingrid, S Group, Rejlers, Jalecon, Jetitek, Green Energy Finland, Fidelix and Emtele are involved. The overall size of the project amounts to around a million euros.
The next step will involve bringing more commercial premises into the project.