Big-box stores may contribute to the evils of urban sprawl, but – with all that rooftop real estate — they also also offer a prime location for urban-centered solar panel arrays to soak up the rays and offset those super-sized utility bills. Wal-Mart has snagged the spotlight for such renewable energy systems rooftop in recent years, but global furnishings mega-retailer Ikea has so far out-paced Wally World big time in gearing up with solar.
As of one year ago, Ikea had new solar arrays operational at stores in Brooklyn, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Tempe, Arizona. In the spring of 2011, the retailer brought solar online at stores in Paramus, New Jersey and Stoughton, Massachusetts — and now, in Bloomington, Minnesota; Bolingbrook and Shaumberg, Illinois; Canton, Michigan; and another store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
To wit: Wal-Mart has so far concentrated its solar efforts in areas where they’re likely to help the chain curry favor with local greenies (i.e., California), while Ikea currently has a solar program in place at 75 percent of its 44 U.S. retail buildings. With these new installations, that percentage jumps to 85.
The new stores will add a total of 4.8 more megawatts of rooftop solar power generation to Ikea’s rooftops, and, once they’re completed, the company will have 31.6 megawatts of solar in the U.S.