IKEA Installs Solar Power on 90% of U.S. Stores

(3BL/JustMeans) - IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, has expanded the solar energy system on top of its Denver-area store. The rooftop solar panels on the Centennial, Colorado store, which opened two years ago, are double the size of the original array. Before the expansion, the array was the state’s largest single-use rooftop solar array on a commercial building and now is the largest of any use. The total system includes 4,704 panels generating 1,701,000 kWh of power a year, which is equivalent to reducing 1,200 tons of carbon or powering 180 homes. The Centennial stores also features a geothermal heating and cooling system. 
Last spring, IKEA completed solar installations on almost 90 percent of its buildings in the U.S. (39 out of 44 locations). IKEA owns and operates all of the solar power systems and has allocated $1.8 billion globally to invest in renewable energy research through 2015. The company has installed over 300,000 solar panels on buildings around the world, and owns or operates about 137 wind turbines in Europe. IKEA’s goal is to be 100 percent renewable by 2020 , or producing as much renewable energy as consumed by its stores and plants. 
“We are fortunate to have the roof space and corporate commitment to more than double the energy being generated on-site here at the store,” said John Ellis, store manager. “We are proud to make this investment and to grow our local sustainable footprint.”
IKEA believes in renewable energy so much that it is selling solar panels to British customers. In September, IKEA announced that it will sell solar panels in all of its British stores. The furniture retailer has teamed up with Hanergy, the world’s largest thin-film PV company to sell the panels in its 17 British stores within the next 10 months. 
In November, IKEA made two big announcements concerning renewable energy. One of those announcements concerns a Miami area store which now features 4,620 solar panels. The solar power system will produce 1,738,876 kWh of electricity a year, equal to reducing 1,227 tons of carbon or providing power to 169 homes for a year. The store is slated to open next summer. The system is the largest of its kind in South Florida and combined with rooftop systems on other Florida stores, IKEA is the state’s largest non-utility solar owner. 
The other announcement concerns the purchase of a 46 megawatt wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta. The 20-turbine wind farm is the largest owned by a Canadian retailer and is expected to generate 161 gigawatt hours a year. That is more than double the total energy used by IKEA Canada, equivalent to 60 percent of IKEA Group’s electricity use in North America or the power used by 13,500 average Canadian households. 
Photo: epSos.de