IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Portland, Ore. The 62,500-sq-ft PV array consists of a 497.3-kW system, built with 2,072 panels. IKEA Portland’s program will produce approximately 568,900 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 432 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 77 cars or powering 48 homes yearly.
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in PV technology. 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 this Portland installation represents the 16th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 21 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 85 percent and a total generation of 30.8 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Portland store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar electric installers with more than 8,000 systems built nationwide.
“Our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many people, and at IKEA Portland, we just added to this effort,” said Alessandra Zini, IKEA Portland store manager. “A solar energy system will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community. We appreciate the support from the City of Portland, Pacific Power, and REC Solar, 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 for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of 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 also installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S., including IKEA Portland.
Located on 19 acres at Airport Blvd and Interstate 205, IKEA Portland opened July 2007 and employs more than 300 coworkers. In addition to nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA Portland presents 43 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 350-seat restaurant. 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 Portland was awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and offers a $20 home delivery discount to customers who visit the store via MAX light rail, which stops at the Cascades station in front of the store.