TEJON, Calif. - With local officials and community leaders, as well as PG&E and REC Solar representatives on-hand, IKEA flipped the switch on a newly constructed solar energy system at its southwestern United States distribution center in Tejon, Calif. This installation represents the second-largest, single-roof commercial system in the state, and the sixth largest in the nation.

The 370,000-square-foot solar array consists of a 1.8 MW system designed and installed by California-based REC Solar, and built with 7,980 REC Group panels. The system will produce 2.88 million kWh of electric power annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,986 tons of carbon dioxide, or powering 241 homes yearly. The project contributes to the local utility’s renewable portfolio goals and lowers the carbon intensity of the electrical grid.

REC Solar is one of the largest U.S. solar electric providers with more than 6,000 systems built nationwide including 16 MW in the commercial retail sector in the past two years. The company specializes in grid-tied solar electric design and installation, and offers state-of-the-art equipment and financing opportunities for commercial and residential customers.

“Having solar panels on the roof of this distribution center demonstrates that the company’s sustainable commitment extends beyond our stores into all facets of the retail operations,” said Martin Grieder, distribution operations manager for Western North America. “This solar photovoltaic system will reduce significantly the carbon footprint and electricity costs of this facility and will continue the global and U.S. initiative of IKEA to incorporate sustainable practices wherever feasible. We appreciate the support of REC Solar, Kern County, and PG&E, our partners in this project.”

In the United States, IKEA already has solar energy systems operational in four stores with systems currently being installed at nine other locations, including a Denver-area store also opening this year in Centennial, Colo., with a geothermal system. The 1.8 million-square-foot Tejon Distribution Center opened in 2000 on 60 acres along Interstate-5 in Kern County just north of the ‘grapevine’ route through California’s Tehachapi mountain range.

Publication date:06/20/2011