Ikea to Expand Michigan’s Largest Solar Array

CANTON, Mich. — Beginning in spring 2015, Ikea will be installing more solar panels on top of its expansive Detroit-area store. The project will be the state’s largest rooftop solar array.

Ikea is planning a 44,000-square-foot expansion for the eight-year-old store. The expansion will also add 40,000 square feet of new solar panels. The addition will consist of a 240.9-kW system comprising 765 panels that will produce 287,490 kWh more of electricity annually for the store.

Including the existing system, Ikea Canton’s total 1,218.5-kW solar installation of 4,925 panels will generate more than 1.4 million kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 984 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 207 cars or the equivalent of powering 135 homes.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to increase the amount of solar energy generated and used by this store,” said Matt Hunsicker, Ikea Canton store manager, in a statement. “This is another example of the Ikea commitment to create a more sustainable life for communities where we operate.”

For the development, design and installation of this store’s enhanced solar power system, Ikea selected Inovateus Solar LLC of South Bend, Ind., a solar power distributor and integrator that specializes in large-scale solar installations.

Ikea uses solar energy at 90 percent of its U.S. locations, with a total generation goal of 40 megawatts. The company owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Globally, the company has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015.

The company has a goal of being energy independent by 2020 and has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on its buildings across the world. It also owns more than 150 wind turbines in Europe and Canada, with 104 more being built in the U.S.

Ikea is a Swedish-based company that aims to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, the company examines locations regularly for conservation opportunities and tries to integrate materials into product design. The company has made several efforts in the U.S. to be sustainable, including recycling waste material and incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas and water-conserving restrooms.

The chain store has eliminated plastic bags from its check-out process, phased-out the sale of incandescent bulbs, facilitates recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 will sell only LED lights. Ikea also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 13 stores in the U.S.

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