Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s solar energy programme has emerged as one of the first possible significant casualties of the EU China trade war in the UK.
The company has questioned whether it will be able to make continued investment in its growing solar portfolio because of the tariffs planned by the European Commission on Chinese solar imports.
Sainsbury’s has until now been a major investor in solar power and other renewable energies.
The supermarket chain, one of the three biggest in the country, has installed 16MW of solar panels across 169 store rooftops. Collectively they make Sainsbury host to the largest multi-rooftop array in Europe.
It has topped the global Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes review (in the food retailers sector) six years in a row, and last year the company’s chief executive Justin King said the retail sector should take another look at solar energy as a viable way to reduce its impact on the environment. “Supermarkets have the equivalent of football fields on their roofs, many of them underutilised,” he said. “It’s a perfect time to turn that space into something positive.”