IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to increase the solar array atop its Boston-area store that opened eight years ago in Stoughton, Mass. Last month, IKEA began work on a 58,575-square-foot store expansion, atop which new panels will be installed beginning Spring 2014, with a Summer completion expected.
The 51,516-square-foot solar addition will consist of a 312-kW system, built with 1,248 panels, and will produce 383,200 kWh more of electricity annually for the store. Including the existing system, IKEA Stoughton’s total 902.8-kW solar installation of 5,468 panels will generate 1,078,200 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 761 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 158 cars or powering 105 homes.
For the development, design and installation of the Stoughton store’s enhanced solar power system, IKEA contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., part of Gehrlicher AG, one of the world’s ten largest independent PV project developers and system integrators.
Last Spring, 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 IKEA goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 300,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 137 wind turbines in Europe.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to double the amount of solar energy generated and used by this store,” said Anton van Dongen, store manager. “This is another example of the IKEA commitment to create a more sustainable life for communities where we operate.”
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. Globally, 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. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms. Operationally, IKEA eliminated plastic bags from the check-out process, phased-out the sale of incandescent bulbs, facilitates recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 will sell and use only L.E.D. IKEA has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 27 acres along Route 24 near Central Street (Exit 19B), the 347,000-s.f. IKEA Stoughton opened in November 2005 and employs approximately 400 coworkers. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA Stoughton presents 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 450-seat restaurant. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking. IKEA Stoughton was awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and hosts a green roof atop the store adjacent to where the first phase of solar panels were installed.
— Solar Builder magazine