IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its South Florida store in the City of Sunrise – which will be the largest solar installation in South Florida and, when combined with IKEA projects already completed atop stores in Orlando and Tampa, will make IKEA the state’s largest non-utility solar owner.
The 101,774-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,057-kW system, built with 4,368 panels. IKEA Sunrise’s program will produce approximately 1,554,600 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,181 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 210 cars or powering 134 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
This installation represents the 35th completed solar project for IKEA in the U.S., with four more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 90% 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 $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 Sunrise store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 9,000 systems built across the U.S.
“IKEA Sunrise now has added to the IKEA mission of creating a better everyday life for the many people,” said Peter Steinweg, store manager. “This solar array will reduce our carbon footprint and represents another investment by us in this community. We appreciate the support of the City of Sunrise, Florida P&L, and REC Solar, Inc. 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 West.
Located on 20 acres at Interstate 595 and 136th Avenue, the 293,000-s.f. IKEA Sunrise opened October 2007. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, the store presents 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 400-seat restaurant. Other family-friendly features including 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.