IKEA powers up solar panels atop Charlotte, N.C., store

June 04, 2013 06:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 122,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,015-kW system, built with 4,228 panels. IKEA Charlotte’s program will produce approximately 1,330,000 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 938 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 195 cars or powering 140 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).

This installation represents the 39th completed solar project for IKEA in the U.S., the last one that had been planned and underway, making the total U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 90% of its locations (39 of 44 buildings), with a total generation goal of 38 MW. 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 $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of IKEA to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. Consistent with the company’s goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 250,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.

For the development, design and installation of the Charlotte store’s customized 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.

“The installation of solar panels at IKEA Charlotte is another way we can build upon our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Richard Castanon, IKEA Charlotte store manager. “At IKEA, we believe in creating a better every life for the many people, so investing in renewable energy accomplishes helps contributes to that goal. We appreciate the support of the City of Charlotte, Duke Energy, and Gehrlicher Solar, our partners in this project.”

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 environmental measures into the actual buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing-out the sale of incandescent light bulbs, facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 selling and using only L.E.D. bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.