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Canton IKEA Plugs in State's Largest Photovoltaic Solar Energy System

Home furnishings store's 112,200 square-foot solar energy system will generate about 1.115 million kilowatt hours of clean power.

Global home furnishings retailer this week took a big step toward shrinking its carbon footprint at its Canton location.

The store on Tuesday plugged in Michigan’s largest photovoltaic array, a 122,200 square-foot solar energy system placed atop the store’s roof.

Consisting of 4,160 panels, the addition of the new energy system will reduce about 769 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and produce nearly 1.115 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually, the carbon equivalent of eliminating the emissions of 151 cars or powering 96 homes yearly, according to Jennifer Preston, a spokesperson for the Canton store. The company does not provide statistics for its typical yearly power consumption.

The Canton location, which opened along Ford Road in 2006, is the 20th IKEA store to make the move to solar energy to reduce carbon emissions.

Photovoltaics is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity with the use of semiconductors.

“It’s been a big priority for IKEA in general in sustainability efforts to use renewable energy,” Preston said.

In addition to the panels, Preston said, the store has recycling stations on-site, sells only compact fluorescent lightbulbs and is using LED spotlights for a new display area of the store, expected to be completed this summer. The store also flat-packs merchandise and asks shoppers to provide their own bags.

“The solar panels are a nice addition on top of all the other things that we’ve been doing,” Preston said. “It’s a sustainability effort we take seriously as a store.”

The system was contracted through SoCore Energy, a company specializing in photovoltaic systems.

General Motors in 2011 announced plans for a 264,000 square-foot photovoltaic array to help power its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, where the Chevy Volt is manufactured. If and when completed, the system would more than double the size of the IKEA system.

Steve C July 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Ok, but they never mentioned the cost or how long it will take to recoup the cost. Will the cost be passed onto it's customers. What was the carbon foot print to manufacture the panels?
John McKay July 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM
IKEA does not release financial information for its stores. I know the proposed General Motors photovoltaic array at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant was expected to save $15,000 in energy costs annually. IKEA's is about half the size, but it would be safe to assume a retail store uses less power than an automotive factory, so the actual cost could be difficult to speculate. Systems such as this typically power about 25 percent of a building's power (note this isn't a number for the Canton IKEA store specifically), according to the SoCore website. Full disconnect from the power grid would be much more costly, according to the website, and would require much more complex equipment. Costs at IKEA thus far have remained the same. A message was left with the CEO of SoCore seeking comment to answer the question about the carbon footprint of the panels themselves.
John McKay July 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I should clarify above: Costs of merchandise at IKEA have remained the same. Energy costs haven't yet been calculated, nor would the company release that information if it had been calculated.
Tom Dusbiber July 13, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Fox2 News did a story on this and they talked a little about CO2 emissions. http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/18897044/2012/06/27/ikea-installs-over-4000-solar-panels-on-canton-stores-roof Also if you search on the IKEA site they have some info also about their projects.. http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/about_ikea/people_and_planet/energy-and-resource.html
Annie Meyer June 03, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Great to see that IKEA is working towards sustainability and has chosen solar to help them get there! For all of us who want to make a difference but don't have a large business, solar is a wonderful option because it can save you so much money at the same time! You don't have to go solar just because you want to be green. This page outlines why solar is such a great investment and is super easy to understand: http://bit.ly/128guWB

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