IKEA Plans Solar for Five More Midwest Locations

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to install solar energy panels on five more of its United States locations — all of them in the Midwestern U.S. Pending governmental permits, installation can begin this Winter, with completion expected in Summer 2012. Implementation of these projects will extend the IKEA solar presence to nearly 85 percent of its U.S. locations. Collectively, the five stores will total 4.8 MW of solar generating capacity, approximately 20,400 panels, and an annual output of 5.62 kWh of electricity — the equivalent to reducing 4,273 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) — equal to eliminating the emissions of 760 cars or providing electricity for 484 homes yearly.

This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in PV technology. IKEA will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) — now including its two Chicago-area stores (Bolingbrook and Schaumburg), as well as stores in Bloomington, Minn., Canton, Mich., and Pittsburgh, listed below with approximate system statistics and corresponding clean energy equivalents:

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  • Bloomington, MN — opened in 2004; store size: 336,000 SF on 15 acres — SOLAR PROGRAM: 142,000 SF at 1,136 kW; 4,834 panels generating 1,300,700 kWh/yr
  • Bolingbrook, IL — opened in 2005; store size: 310,000 SF on 23 acres — SOLAR PROGRAM: 140,300 SF at 1,122 kW; 4,774 panels generating 1,298,200 kWh/yr
  • Canton, MI — opened in 2006; store size: 311,000 SF on 33 acres — SOLAR PROGRAM: 122,200 SF at 977 kW; 4,157 panels generating 1,138,200 kWh/yr
  • Pittsburgh, PA — opened in 1989; store size: 221,000 SF on 14.2 acres — SOLAR PROGRAM: 86,800 SF at 694 kW; 2,953 panels generating 852,200 kWh/yr
    • Since 2000, this store has hosted a 31-kW PPA array that will be removed to facilitate installation of today’s announced new system to be owned and operated by IKEA.
  • Schaumburg, IL — opened in 1998; size: 450,000 SF on 30.4 acres — SOLAR PROGRAM: 108,400 SF at 867 kW; 3,689 panels generating 1,032,600 kWh/yr

IKEA already has 12 U.S. solar energy systems operational with 20 more underway. Installing solar panels atop these five locations will increase the company’s U.S. solar presence to nearly 85 percent and will result in a total generating capacity of 31.6 MW in the U.S.

“We are pleased that solar energy systems already have proven successful at IKEA locations and are thrilled we now can complete the solar coverage of all our Midwestern stores,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “With only 44 locations nationwide, we try to contribute whenever and wherever possible to creating a better everyday life for the many. So — from a sustainability perspective — we are open to ideas for incorporating key environmental technologies and look forward to considering other opportunities as they arise too.”

IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and reflects a business and operating model designed to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates locations 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, such as 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. Also, IKEA is installing solar panels atop many of its U.S. locations and EV charging stations at nine western stores.

For the Pittsburgh store, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, an industry-leading solar power provider specializing in grid-tied residential, commercial and government installations, with more than 7,000 systems built nationwide. REC Solar already has installed systems at other IKEA locations, and currently is implementing solar PV programs at additional IKEA locations. For the four other locations, IKEA contracted with SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the Midwest and developer of more than 65 commercial scale PV installations across the U.S. SoCore provides some of the largest retailers, municipalities, and commercial property owners with unique solar solutions.

IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.