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Co-op has signed a 15-year agreement for the complete output of a 34-megawatt solar farm that is currently under construction in North Yorkshire.

The partnership with renewable energy producer Voltalia aims to source electricity for its estate, including food stores, distribution centers and Funeral homes across the UK.

Co-op announced the move would provide enough electricity to supply up to 7.5% of its total electricity needs per year.

Voltalia has recently started the early construction works of the Eastgate solar farm, which will feature 62,500 solar panels and is set to be fully operational in 2025.

The solar farm is expected to produce around 34,000 megawatt hours of electricity, which is enough to power over 170 Co-op Food Stores, 500 Co-op Funeralcare homes.

Coop said the deal marks an important step in its pursuit of energy market reform and achieving Net Zero for its operations by 2035.

Shirine Khoury-Haq group chief executive officer at the Co-op said: “Not only will this agreement unlock more green energy, it will also enable energy security, drive economic growth and move us closer to net zero. That’s why we still believe that grid decarbonisation should be an absolute priority for the Government.

“Whilst businesses have a part to play, reform to allow much more rapid progress for projects such as the Eastgate solar project is urgently needed. Whilst the significant progress the UK has made to date is to be applauded, as a country we remain too reliant on fossil fuels, and ambitious targets alone won’t deliver the benefits that a Net Zero grid will deliver, from energy security to lower generation costs to the better outcome for the planet that’s so desperately needed.”

Sébastien Clerc chief executive officer of Voltalia commented on the deal: “We are very proud to support Co-op in their net carbon zero target by providing clean electricity in the food industry, reaching millions of individuals and enabling us to raise awareness of more sustainable and responsible consumption.”