Ikea Becomes A Domestic Solar Power Juggernaut

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.

image via Rec Solar

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.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.