IKEA Advances Renewable Energy Focus with Tempe Project

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Friday, August 15th, 2014
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Swedish retail giant IKEA has committed to using only renewable energy by 2020, and solar photovoltaic installations are a key component of the company’s strategy.

The company’s store in the Sydney suburb of Tempe will be the largest single-roof PV project in Australia, though it’s a shade smaller than the 1.2-megawatt installation at the University of Queensland, which is installed on several roofs.

UK firm Kingspan Energy has been contracted to handle the installation of nearly 4000 Yingli polycrystalline solar photovoltaic modules, 43 SMA Sunny TriPower inverters, and a Schletter mounting system. The company says the installation will be complete in mid-September.

Kingspan has previously completed major solar PV installations for Jaguar and Aldi, among others.

IKEA has plans for solar photovoltaic installations at five existing eastern Australia stores and two small merchandise-pick-up facilities, which collectively will produce about 5.5 gigawatts of electricity from approximately 16,000 solar panels. That’s enough to power nearly 800 single-family homes for one year. The installations at the Tempe, Springvale, Richmond, Logan, and Rhodes facilities will all be complete in 2014, IKEA says.

The company is also rolling out new stores in Canberra, Victoria, Queensland, and Sydney which will include solar PV systems from the start. When complete, the Canberra store’s PV system is set to produce one megawatt of energy through 4,000 panels, eclipsing the Tempe store’s output.

Worldwide, IKEA has installed more than 550,000 solar panels at its 300-plus locations, enough to power more than 20,000 homes for one year. In 2012, the company pledged to get 70 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015, and 100 per cent by 2020. To achieve those goals, outlined in its “People & Planet Positive” sustainability strategy, IKEA committed to spending $1.8 billion (US) on renewable energy such as wind and solar by 2020.

Earlier this year, IKEA US purchased the 98-megawatt Hoopeston Wind installation in Hoopeston, Illinois. The facility is under construction and is expected to be completed early in 2015. The Hoopeston project is IKEA’s largest single energy investment to date. The company also owns and operates 137 wind turbines in Europe.

Also in the US, the company said it had reached its goal of installing solar PV systems on 90 per cent of its U.S. buildings, with a generation capacity of about 38 megawatts. The company upgraded the solar PV array at its two-year-old Denver, Colorado-area store early in 2014. The addition of a 623-kilowatt system built of 2,492 solar panels upgraded the existing system to 1,121 kilowatts with 4,704 panels. The Denver store was also the first U.S. store to be built with a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Worldwide, IKEA is the largest seller of furniture, with $40 billion (US) in sales, up 3.1 per cent in 2013.

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