Ikea U.S. recently announced plans to install a solar energy system at its Merriam, Kansas store slated to open this fall. The store is located about eight miles from Kansas City, Missouri. The 92,000-square foot solar array will contain 2,850 photovoltaic (PV) panels and will produce approximately 1,348,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year for the store. That is equivalent to the power needed for 128 homes, reducing 930 tons of carbon or the emissions of 196 cars. Once completed, it will be the largest rooftop solar array in Kansas.
The solar energy system is Ikea’s 41st solar project in the U.S. The 395,000 square foot Merriam store is currently under construction on 19 acres. The store will have a geothermal component to its healing and cooling system, the second U.S. store to contain one. The other store to contain one is in the Denver, Colorado area, which opened in 2011.
Ikea’s 40th solar power project will sit atop the 416,000 square foot Miami-Dade area store opening this summer in Sweetwater, Florida. The 178,000 square foot solar energy system consists of 4,620 PV panels and will produce about 1,738,876 kWh of electricity a year. The equivalent of the power needed for 169 homes, reducing 1,227 tons of carbon or the emissions of 256 cars. Ikea has rooftop solar arrays on other Florida stores, including in Orlando, Tampa and Sunrise. The fourth solar project makes Ikea the largest non-utility solar owner in Florida.
Ikea U.S. has solar power at almost 90 percent of its U.S. locations. The company is the second largest private commercial solar owner and user in the U.S. It is investing $150 million in PV systems on its U.S. store locations. In 2013, IKEA installed solar panels on eight U.S. stores.
Ikea’s efforts are gaining attention. In May, President Obama announced over 300 private and public sector commitments to reduce carbon while creating jobs by increasing solar energy deployment and energy efficiency. Ikea U.S. was listed as committing to use renewable energy generation at their new U.S. IKEA store locations.
Solar is not the only renewable energy investment in the U.S. Ikea U.S. announced its purchase in April of a 98 MW wind farm in Hoopeston, Illinois. The purchase is IKEA Group’s largest single renewable energy investment globally. The wind farm is currently under construction and is expected to be operational by the first half of 2015. It is expected to generate up to 380 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy every year.
The company has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015, and has installed over 550,000 solar panels on buildings globally. Ikea owns about 157 wind turbines in Europe and Canada, with 49 more being built in the U.S. The goal is to produce at least 70 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2015. By 2020, Ikea plans to produce as much renewable energy as its operations consume. Currently, solar and wind energy meets 27 percent of the electricity needed to run the company’s operations globally.
Article by Gina-Marie Cheeseman of Justmeans, appearing courtesy 3BL Media.