IKEA, the world’s home furnishings retailer, officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Tampa, Fla. The 148,700-sq-ft PV array consists of a 1,189-kW system, built with 4,956 panels. IKEA Tampa’s program will produce approximately 1,792,300 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,362 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 242 cars or powering 154 homes yearly.
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (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 Tampa installation represents the 22nd completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 17 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89 percent with a total generation of 38 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Tampa store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 8,000 systems built across the United States.
“The installation of solar panels at IKEA Tampa is another way we can build upon our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Monica Varela, IKEA Tampa store manager. “At IKEA, we believe in being a good business while doing good business and investing in renewable energy accomplishes both of those goals. We appreciate the support of the City of Tampa, TECO, and REC Solar, Inc., 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 has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western United States.
Located on 29 acres along Adamo Drive at 22nd Street and the Crosstown Expressway, and adjacent to the Ybor City historic business district off I-4, the 353,000-square-foot IKEA Tampa store opened in May 2009. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 48 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 450-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.