IKEA adding 2.9-MW solar array on new distribution center in Illinois

Home furnishings retailer IKEA announced Nov. 15 plans to install solar panels on its Midwest distribution center under construction in Joliet, Illinois.

Installation will begin in Spring 2017, with completion expected in Fall 2017 for Illinois’ largest rooftop array. 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 renewable energy portfolio of IKEA in Illinois also includes a 49-turbine wind farm in Hoopeston.

The distribution center’s 470,545-square-foot solar array will consist of a 2.91-MW system, built with 8,966 panels, and will produce approximately 3,411,600 kWh of electricity annually for the facility. For the development, design and installation of the facility’s solar power system, IKEA selected SoCore Energy, a subsidiary of Edison International that has designed and installed hundreds of solar solutions across 21 states. Gray Construction is managing the construction of the Joliet distribution center.

“We are excited to further our sustainability commitment with solar panels on our future Midwest distribution center,” said Lars Peterson, IKEA U.S. president. “Installing Illinois’ largest rooftop array advances our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many.”

This installation will represent the 45th solar project for IKEA in the United States, contributing to the IKEA solar presence atop nearly 90% of its U.S. locations, with a total generation of more than 40 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 $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020. 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.

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. IKEA also is 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.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.