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.