IKEA this week announced plans to install solar panels atop the relocated store under construction in Renton’s industrial section. Installation will begin this fall, with completion expected in winter for the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Washington.
The store’s 244,504-square-foot solar array will consist of a 1.18 megawatt (MW) system, built with 3,420 panels, and will produce approximately 1,319,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 927 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 196 cars or providing electricity for 137 homes yearly, according to calculations using the Environmental Protection Agency clean energy equivalents calculator on their website.
For the development, design and installation of the new store’s solar power system, IKEA selected REC Solar, a national leader in solar electric design and installation with more than 530 systems built across the U.S. Deacon Corp. is managing the construction of the store, which will reflect the unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide.
“We are excited to further our sustainability commitment with solar panels on this relocated Seattle-area store,” Diedre Goodchild, store manager, said in a press release. “Installing Washington’s largest rooftop array advances our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many.”
This installation will represent the 44th solar project for IKEA in the United States, contributing to the IKEA solar presence atop nearly 90 percent of its U.S. locations, with a total generation of more than 40 MW. 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 globally has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology.
Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S.
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can do good business while minimizing impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. S
pecific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the actual buildings with 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, and selling only LED bulbs. IKEA has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 14 stores, with more locations planned.
The future 399,000-square-foot new Renton store, including 1,600 parking spaces, is being built across the 29-acre IKEA parcel’s parking lot in Renton, near state Highway 167. Until the new store opens in Spring 2017, customers can continue to shop at the existing IKEA store. During the construction period, IKEA will be providing additional parking nearby on weekends for customers and shuttling them to the store.