US natural and organic retailer Whole Foods Market today (21 April) unveiled plans to more than triple the number of its stores with solar panels and invest in energy reduction initiatives.

“Whole Foods is committed to developing alternative sources of energy. For some time, we have been investing in this goal and this is a significant step on the path to becoming an energy-neutral operation,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

The company is adding solar panels at more than 20 locations, bringing the number of solar powered stores to more than 30 sites throughout the US.

“Including potential future rollout phases, Whole Foods Market hopes to have close to 70 total locations with rooftop solar panels, close to one fourth of the company’s total number of stores,” the group said.

Whole Foods is also reducing energy use at existing stores and facilities through the use of fuel cells, waste-to-electricity technology and energy efficient equipment.

The company said that it will continue to offset electricity use at its North American outlets by purchasing renewable energy credits from wind farms, a policy which it began in 2005.