• Kyodo

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Aeon Co. has announced ambitious long-term plans to save electricity, including boosting solar power generation at its stores.

The nation’s largest retail group said it will increase the solar capacity of its supermarkets and other retail outlets by about 15 times the current level to 200,000 kw in fiscal 2020, equivalent to the electricity used by 45,000 households.

Currently, 160 of its stores are equipped with solar panels with a total capacity to produce 13,000 kw.

The Chiba-based company will also aim to cut down electricity consumption by 50 percent by fiscal 2020 from the fiscal 2010 level through more efficient use of air conditioning and lighting.

“Japan is about to face a turning point in energy policy,” Yukiyo Komatsu, the top environmental policy executive of the Aeon group, said at a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo. “It’s very hard to save energy by 50 percent, but our group will make concerted efforts to achieve it.”

In addition, Aeon said it will strive to keep at least 100 stores open around the country, especially the bigger ones, in the event of a natural disaster such as a massive earthquake.

The plans will take effect Saturday, the company said.

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