KEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar panels installed at its Twin Cities store in Bloomington, Minnesota – the state’s largest such photovoltaic array. The 128,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,014-kW system, built with 4,316 panels. IKEA Bloomington’s program will produce approximately 1,161,328 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 801 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 157 cars or powering 100 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
This installation represents the 31st completed solar project for IKEA in the U.S., with eight 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 Bloomington store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the Midwest and developer of more than 65 U.S. commercial PV installations.
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of improving the sustainability of our day-to-day business,” said James Organ, IKEA store manager. “The Twin Cities coworkers are excited to contribute to this goal with our newly operational solar panels. We appreciate the support of the City of Bloomington, Xcel Energy and SoCore Energy, 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 15 acres at the northeastern corner of State Highway 77 and Lindau Lane, the 336,000-square-foot IKEA Bloomington opened in July 2004. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, the store presents 43 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 500-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.
IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store’ and, since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives benefiting children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.