CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. — IKEA has announced plans to install solar panels on five more of its United States locations — all of them in the Midwest. Pending governmental permits, installation is expected to begin this winter, with completion expected in summer 2012. IKEA said implementation of these projects will extend its solar presence to nearly 85 percent of its U.S. locations. Collectively, the five stores will total 4.8 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, approximately 20,400 panels, and an annual output of 5.62 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.

IKEA said this investment reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and its confidence in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) — which will now include its two Chicago-area stores (Bolingbrook and Schaumburg), as well as stores in Bloomington, Minn., Canton, Mich., and Pittsburgh.

IKEA already has 12 U.S. solar energy systems operational with 20 more underway. Installing solar panels atop these five locations will result in a total generating capacity of 31.6 MW in the U.S.

“We are pleased that solar energy systems already have proven successful at IKEA locations and are thrilled we now can complete the solar coverage of all our Midwestern stores,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “With only 44 locations nationwide, we try to contribute whenever and wherever possible to creating a better everyday life for the many. So — from a sustainability perspective — we are open to ideas for incorporating key environmental technologies and look forward to considering other opportunities as they arise too.”

For the Pittsburgh store, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, a leading solar power provider specializing in grid-tied residential, commercial, and government installations, with more than 7,000 systems built nationwide. REC Solar already has installed systems at other IKEA locations, and currently is implementing solar PV programs at additional IKEA locations. For the four other locations, IKEA contracted with 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. SoCore provides some of the largest retailers, municipalities, and commercial property owners with solar solutions.

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Publication date: 01/16/2012