The largest solar rooftop project in Illinois is now complete, sitting atop IKEA’s Midwest distribution center in Joliet, Ill. Combined with arrays atop the Chicago-area IKEA stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, this third project will make IKEA the owner of three of the state’s largest solar rooftop installations.
The distribution center’s 268,920-square-foot solar array consists of a 2.85 MW system, built with 9,036 panels, and will produce approximately 3,377,000 kWh of electricity annually for the facility, the equivalent of reducing 2,513 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 538 cars or providing electricity for 377 homes yearly.
“Investing in sustainable solutions is a vital part of our business model,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president. “IKEA aims to create a sustainable life for communities where we are located, and the Joliet distribution center is a shining example of that goal.”
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 globally has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S. – 49 of which are in Hoopeston, IL.
Under construction on 72 acres at the Laraway Crossings Business Park, the future 1.25-million-square-foot distribution center in Joliet will enhance the IKEA distribution network with a central location allowing goods to be received at coastal ports from both Asia and Europe and then transported inland to the Joliet facility. The proximity to a nearby railroad intermodal will represent additional long-term transportation options too. IKEA is also planning another, similarly-sized facility on 62 acres adjacent to the one currently being built. (The timing for construction of the second building remains to be determined).
— Solar Builder magazine