IKEA Turns On State’s Largest Solar Array

New Haven, Conn. – Last week, with Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty, community leaders and solar industry representatives on-hand, IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in New Haven, Connecticut – the state’s largest such photovoltaic array. The 118,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 940.8-kW system, built with 3,920 panels. IKEA New Haven’s program will produce approximately 1,099,800 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 836 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 149 cars or powering 95 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).

This installation represents the 32nd completed solar project for IKEA in the U.S., with seven more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% of its U.S. locations with a total generation 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 €590 million to invest in renewable energy, focusing on solar and wind during the coming three years. This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of IKEA to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. More than 250,000 solar panels have been installed on IKEA stores and buildings across the world. The company also owns and/or operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.

For the development, design and installation of the New Haven 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.

“Our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many people, and at IKEA New Haven, we just added to this effort,” said Gail Franc, store manager. “A solar energy system will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community. We appreciate the continued support of the City of New Haven, United Illuminating, 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 and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.

Located on 20 acres at the I-95/I-91 interchange, the 311,000-s.f. IKEA New Haven opened July 2004. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 48 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.

Source: IKEA Press Release