Big box top retailer IKEA is certainly digging trying out renewable energy ideas at its U.S. stores. Besides going for geothermal heating at a Colorado store, it announced recently plans to install a whole lot of solar panels at eight California locations – nearly 20,000, to be exact.

The large scale deployment of solar panels atop eight of its stores in California will generate a collective total of 4.5 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, producing an annual output of 6.65 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. It is said this effort “represents the equivalent to reducing 5,268 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in California – equaling the emissions of 914 cars or providing 580 homes electricity yearly.”

IKEA Solar
image via IKEA

IKEA said that, pending governmental permits, installation can begin in late fall, with completion expected in early 2011. Panels will be installed at its three stores in Northern California (East Palo Alto, Emeryville and West Sacramento), four stores in southern California (Burbank, Costa Mesa, Covina and San Diego) and at its distribution center in Tejon. This latter project also reportedly will be one of the top ten largest rooftop commercial systems in the U.S., with 216,000 square feet of panels generating 2.8 million kWh/yr.

IKEA has tapped Gloria Solar, which recently completed a 600 kW build out at IKEA Tempe, Arizona, for the seven retail stores. Its Tejon project is being handled by REC Solar. Besides Tempe and California, other IKEA locations around the country with some type of solar installation already in operation include Brooklyn, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Charlotte, NC; Draper, UT; Orlando, FL; and Tampa, FL.

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