IKEA today officially plugged-in an expansion of the solar array completed last April atop its Perryville, Maryland, distribution center, the state’s largest such solar energy system. Installation of the new panels began Fall 2013, and since then have nearly doubled the size of the original project, which already was the state’s largest rooftop array.
The 467,618-square-foot solar addition consists of a 2.2-MW system, built with 7,337 modules, and will produce 2,695,355 kWh of electricity annually. Including the existing system, this distribution center’s total 4.9-MW solar installation of 25,913 panels now will generate 6,092,533 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 4,299 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 896 cars or powering 591 homes.
For the development, design and installation of the Perryville distribution center’s original and expanded solar power system, IKEA contracted with Inovateus Solar LLC, an industry-leading solar power distributor and integrator specializing in large-scale solar installations.
Last year, IKEA achieved its goal of completing solar installations atop nearly 90 percent of its U.S. buildings (39 out of 44 locations), with a generation goal of 38 MW. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. This investment reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 550,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 157 wind turbines in Europe and Canada.
“We are fortunate to have the roof spaces and corporate commitment to nearly double the energy being generated by this facility,” said Steffen Daab, distribution center manager. “We are proud to make this investment and to grow our local sustainable footprint.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims to minimize impacts on the environment. IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating key measures into buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, warehouse skylights, and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing-out the sale of incandescent light bulbs, facilitating recycling compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 selling only LED bulbs. IKEA U.S. has solar arrays atop 90% of its locations, has announced plans to purchase 49 wind turbines in Illinois, and has rolled-out EV charging stations at 13 stores.
Constructed on 278 acres in the community of Perryville, in Northern Maryland’s Cecil County, this 1.7 million-square-foot IKEA distribution center began operations in 2002, employs approximately 550 coworkers, and currently helps provide inventory to many U.S. IKEA stores. This amount of solar power will allow the facility to mostly use its own energy.
— Solar Builder magazine