International big-box home furnishings retailer Ikea has gotten into all kinds of solar in recent years, with five new solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan in last year alone. And the focus on solar isn’t limited to new construction, as the company just flipped the switch on a 62,500-square-foot PV array consisting of a 497.3-kilowatt-capacity system, built with 2,072 panels, on a Portland, Ore., store that first opened to the public back in 2007.
Local customers, as well as the more than 300 employees of the Portland store will now have the satisfaction of knowing this 280,000-square-foot building will cut its electricity demand over the coming year by 568,900 kilowatt-hours, avoiding 432 tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of taking 77 cars off the road, or 48 homes off the grid.
The Portland installation represents the 16th such completed solar energy project for Ikea in the U.S., with 21 more locations in the pipeline or already under way. When those projects are complete, 85 percent of Ikea’s stores in the U.S. will feature some form of solar power, with a total generation capacity of 30.8 megawatts, the company said. Unlike similar retail rooftop projects (in New Jersey, for example), Ikea will own and operate its own solar power systems, rather than buying power from a developer via a power purchase agreement.
“Our mission is to create a better everyday life for many people, and at Ikea Portland, we just added to this effort,” said Alessandra Zini, Ikea Portland store manager, in a statement. “A solar energy system will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community.” Zini also cited the support for the project from the city of Portland, Pacific Power and REC Solar, Ikea’s partners in the project.