A collaboration between Arla Foods in Denmark and a renewable energy company that will involve the creation of four solar parks, is set to cater for approximately one third of the company's energy consumption by 2024.

This is one of several initiatives to help the dairy cooperative meet its new 2030 emissions-reduction target, which it is increasing from 30% to 60%.

Renewable energy company, Better Energy, is responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the solar parks, which will take up a total of 280ha of land. The first solar park is expected to start delivering electricity by early 2023, and all four parks are scheduled to supply electricity by early 2024.

Under a 10-year agreement, Arla has committed to purchase the majority of its electricity from the new solar parks.

The parks have an expected capacity of 250GWh, corresponding to the annual energy consumption of 156,000 average Danish citizens, and enough to cover about one third of Arla Foods’ electricity consumption in Denmark.

“We are proud to be one of the first farmer-owned dairy cooperatives in the world to have a 1.5°C target approved by SBTi, and the new solar parks will play an important role in our shift towards renewable electricity and low-energy solutions at Arla Foods,” said executive vice president at Arla Foods, Hanne Søndergaard.

“Our Danish sites form a major part of our operations, which is why we are very pleased to begin our transition towards green electricity in Denmark.”

100 per cent green electricity in Europe

By the end of 2025, Arla Foods’ electricity consumption in the EU will come from renewable energy sources, the majority through green power purchase agreements and investments in solar and wind projects.

With this new collaboration, Arla is taking a major step towards self sufficiency in green electricity, the company said.

“Arla and our farmer owners continuously invest in new initiatives all the way from cow to grocery store with the aim of reducing our emissions and energy consumption.

"These initiatives include climate checks on the farms, reduction of food waste, sustainable packaging and green energy sources,” the executive vice president said.

“Our nearly 300 organic farmers and our biggest dairy sites in Denmark already run entirely on green electricity. The agreement with Better Energy is an important step in the right direction, and a way for Arla to contribute to the overall increase in Denmark’s green-energy production,” he added.

The four solar parks will be located in Denmark. The first park will be built in Ebberup in Assens Municipality.

The location of the remaining three parks still awaits final approval.