IKEA to use solar power on buildings in China

IKEA Group today announced that, as part of its goal to only use renewable energy to power its buildings, it will partner with Hanergy, one of China’s leading clean energy companies, to install solar photovoltaic panels on IKEA owned buildings in China. Once complete, the solar panels will provide both 10-15 percent of all electricity needed to run IKEA stores and 100 percent of the electricity needs of IKEA distribution centres in China, saving around 6,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. In addition to helping to power IKEA operations in China, the project is also being extended to the company’s suppliers in China. The solar panels will be manufactured and installed by Hanergy over the next three years.

“IKEA has a long-term commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy to power our buildings and this is an important and significant step towards reaching that goal. Not only will we harness the sun to help power our stores and other buildings across China, but we will also extend the scope of the project over the coming year to our supply base across the country; enabling them to utilise an affordable and reliable supply of clean energy,” said Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

More than half of the energy needed to power IKEA buildings around the world currently comes from renewable sources – primarily solar energy and wind power. There are now over 250,000 solar panels on IKEA buildings and it owns and operates around 80 wind turbines. IKEA Group has allocated Euro 470 million to invest in renewable energy, including the solar project in China and other investments that will be installed over the next three years.

Hanergy, a major privately owned power generation company in China with a solar production capacity of over 2000 MW, will be responsible for the engineering, procurement construction and installation of the solar panels on IKEA buildings in China. The solar panels will provide enough energy to meet the total electricity needs of some IKEA buildings, particularly larger buildings with a lot of roof space, such as distribution centres, that require less energy.

“Our partnership with IKEA is an exciting opportunity to promote the smart use of thin film solar technology as a reliable, clean and alternative source of energy. In the current context of high electricity demand, such initiatives have the potential to relieve pressure on the national grid, support our clients’ business and preserve the environment,” said Li Hejun, Chairman of Hanergy.

In addition to using renewable energy, IKEA is also continuing to use less energy by improving the efficiency of its stores. During its last financial year (FY11), the energy consumption of IKEA stores reduced 4 percent1, mainly through store equipment improvements (heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems and smarter use of commercial lighting).

This helped IKEA to save Euro 6.2 million during the year, further demonstrating how sustainability improvements can deliver strong business benefits.