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IKEA now state's largest solar owner
CONSHOHOCKEN, Penn., Jul. 25 /CSRwire/ - With local officials, community leaders, and solar industry representatives on-hand, IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar panels installed at both its Chicago-area stores – in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, Illinois – bringing the total number of completed U.S. solar energy projects for IKEA to 25. Additionally, installations are under way at 14 more locations, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW. These two solar projects total 248,700 square feet and a generating capacity of 1,989 kW, and were built with 8,463 panels. They represent the two largest distributed arrays in Illinois, making IKEA the state’s largest solar owner.
This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of IKEA to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement). The programs will produce approximately 2,334,081 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,610 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 316 cars or powering 201 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html). Individually, the projects’ characteristics are below:
For the development, design and installation of these two stores’ customized solar power systems, IKEA contracted with Chicago-based SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the Midwest and developer of more than 65 commercial scale PV installations across the U.S. Chicago-based SoCore provides some of the largest retailers, municipalities, and commercial property owners with unique solar solutions.
“This solar installation is another example of how IKEA can build on our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Bolingbrook store manager Christof Stein. Added Ken Bodeen, store manager in Schaumburg, “Solar panels help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and allow us to improve what we do today for a better tomorrow.”
The array atop IKEA Bolingbrook is now the largest distributed solar photovoltaic installation in the State of Illinois as a generator-user that also is tied into the electrical grid. IKEA Schaumburg’s project ranks as the number two largest distributed solar photovoltaic installation in Illinois, behind only the Bolingbrook store. The panels, themselves, were manufactured by SolarWorld, the largest and most experienced U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years.
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 30 acres at the intersection of the I-90 Tollway and the I-290 Expressway, the 450,000 square-foot IKEA Schaumburg opened in November 1998. The 310,000-square-foot store in Bolingbrook opened in September 2005 on 23 acres along the I-355 North-South Tollway at the Boughton Road exit. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, both stores present approximately 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the stores.
IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.
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