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Low-Carbon Biz

Ikea plugs in Minnesota’s largest solar installation

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, activated new solar arrays in its Twin Cities store in Bloomington, Minnesota – the largest photovoltaic installation in the state thus far.

The solar facility is expected to generate around 1,161,328 kilowatt-hours of clean power annually – enough to provide electricity to 100 households per year. It will also help prevent 801 tons of carbon emissions, an amount equivalent to that of 157 cars.

The Twin Cities store which covers 142,000 square feet is now covered with 4,316 solar panels developed, designed and installed by SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar contractors in the Midwest.

Part of Ikea’s Solar Panels Initiative, the new installation is the 31st among the completed series of the company’s solar projects in the United States. Currently, eight locations are in the pipeline for further solar installations. The Swedish home furnishing giant is on its way to occupying nearly 89 percent of the solar installations of its U.S. outlets, with a total output of 38 megawatts.

Ikea said the solar energy initiative is geared towards an effort to advance its “sustainable commitment” to reduce the environmental footprint of its business.

In 2010 alone, the company developed 11 solar projects in its seven stores in California, one in Arizona, two on the East Coast and on its Southwest distribution center. Overall these systems produce a combined output of 6.8 MW of clean electricity.

The company solely owns and operates all of its solar PV plants. In addition, it has invested 590 million euros ($740 million) for renewable energy projects, focusing on solar and wind over the next three years.

To date, over 250,000 solar panels have been mounted on Ikea’s 330 global stores across 40 countries. The company also runs some 110 wind turbines located in Europe. – EcoSeed Staff



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