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08/29/2012 03:23 PM     print story email story  

Solar Arrays Power 70% of US IKEA Stores

SustainableBusiness.com News

IKEA has plugged in its 31st solar array, a 1-megawatt (MW) installation at its store in Bloomington, Minnesota - it's the state's largest rooftop PV array.

The new array in Minnesota covers 128,000 square feet of the 336,000-square-foot store and was built with 4,316 panels.

The retailer is now using solar at 70% of its 38 US stores. Its goal is to install PV at 89% of its retail real estate, reaching for a total generating capacity of 38 MW. 

Globally, IKEA is committing $740 million (590 million euros) over the next three years, with a focus primarily on solar and wind.

Since April, IKEA has completed 14 solar projects with more than 250,000 solar panels in total. It still has eight under way. Eventually, all of its southern operations will be powered by rooftop solar, 10.7 MW across 9 stores and a distribution center.  

The company owns or operates 110 wind turbines in Europe. It runs electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the western US.

IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems, rather than buying electricity through a solar lease or power purchase agreement. For the Minnesota project, IKEA contracted with SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the Midwest and developer of more than 65 US commercial PV installations.  

IKEA's sustainable business practices extend deep into the organization. It has eliminated plastic bags from the check-out process, has long promoted efficient light bulbs to customers, and has built many stores using green building principles.

The company also uses a Sustainability Product Scorecard to help the company purchase and develop products based on environmental impact criteria.



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