They don’t call it the Sunbelt for nothing, and Ikea plans to take full advantage of the salubrious solar situation down South. The Swedish home furnishings retailer has announced that it will install solar panels on nine of its stores and one of its distribution centers in the U.S. South.
The additions will comprise 45,360 panels that will generate an estimated 15,248,334 kilowatt-hours of solar power each year. The projects are working their way through the permitting process, but installation is expected to begin this winter,with completion expected in summer 2012. Ikea will own and operate each of the solar arrays, rather than participating in a solar lease or power purchase agreement.
Stores due for the installations are in Texas (Frisco, Houston and Round Rock); Florida (Tampa, Sunrise and Orlando), Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; and – stretching the “Sunbelt” definition a bit – Woodbridge, Va. In addition, a distribution center in Savannah, Ga., will be out outfitted with a solar array. For the Florida and Texas stores, Ikea is contracting with REC Solar. For the other locations, Ikea is contracting with Gehrlicher Solar America, part of Gehrlicher AG. Both contracted companies already are implementing other solar PV programs for Ikea as well.
Just last month Ikea announced plans to install solar energy systems at stores in Draper, Uah; New Haven, Conn.; and Portland, Ore. Those systems are scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2012, and Ikea said they would bring the total number of Ikea locations with rooftop PV systems to 23.