IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Orlando, Fla. The 120,900-sq-ft PV array consists of a 967-kW system, built with 4,115 panels. IKEA Orlando’s program will produce approximately 1,421,500 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,080 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 192 cars or powering 122 homes yearly.
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in PV technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) — and this Orlando installation represents the 18th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 21 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89 percent with a total generation of 38 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Orlando store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 8,000 systems built across the United States.
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of striving to improve the sustainability of our day-to-day business,” said Julie Mott, IKEA Orlando store manager. “The IKEA coworkers in Orlando are excited to help contribute to this goal with our newly operational solar energy system. We appreciate the support of the City of Orlando, Progress Energy and REC Solar, Inc., our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 22 acres along Conroy Road at Millenia off I-4, the 309,000-square-foot IKEA Orlando store opened in November 2007. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 48 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 450-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.