ROUND ROCK, TX, Sep. 24 /CSRwire/ - IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its Central Texas store in Round Rock – which will be the largest of all IKEA solar installations atop U.S. stores and, when combined with IKEA projects atop stores in Houston and Dallas-area Frisco, will make IKEA the state’s largest solar owner.
The 273,700-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,633-kW system, built with 6,664 panels. IKEA Round Rock’s program will produce approximately 2,398,500 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,822 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 324 cars or powering 206 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
This installation represents the 33rd completed solar project for IKEA in the U.S., with six more locations underway that will make the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW. 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) – and globally has allocated €590 million to invest in renewable energy, focusing on solar and wind during the coming three years.
This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of IKEA to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. More than 250,000 solar panels have been installed on IKEA stores and buildings across the world. The company also owns and/or operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.
For the development, design and installation of the Round Rock store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 8,000 systems built across the U.S.
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of improving the sustainability of our day-to-day business,” said Gerd Diewald, store manager. “The Round Rock coworkers are excited to help contribute to this goal with our newly operational solar energy system. We appreciate the support of the City of Round Rock, Oncor and REC Solar, Inc., our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the actual buildings with 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 has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 21.5 acres along I-35 at University Boulevard, the recently expanded 306,000-SF IKEA store opened November 2006, at its original size of 252,000 SF. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA Round Rock presents 38 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 250-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties and 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 store.
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 sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives benefiting children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.
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