Huge solar array installed on Minnesota store

Ikea has installed the array - which covers 142,000 square feet of rooftop and consists of 4,316 panels - at its Twin Cities store in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company estimates that the panels will generate around 1.1 million kWh of electricity per year.

The project is the 31st to be completed for Ikea in the US, with a number of other projects located in California, and according to an Ikea statement is the largest array in Minnesota. With another 8 projects under construction, the retail chain claims that it will ultimately have installed solar at 89% of its US locations - a total of 38MW.

Each installation is owned by Ikea - rather than through a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Globally, according to Ikea, the chain has allocated a total of €590 million over the next three years for investment in renewable energy - with a particular emphasis on solar and wind. The company statement continues that “over 250,000 solar panels have already been installed on Ikea stores and buildings across the globe, and the company additionally owns and/or operates around 110 wind turbines in Europe”.

Ikea contracted SoCore Energy to carry out the development, design and installation of the Bloomington store array. SoCore is a Midwest developer, with over 65 commercial installations across the US to its name.

As well as developing its solar PV arrays, the retail chain also says it recycles waste material and incorporates environmental measures into its buildings - including the use of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouses and water conserving restrooms.

And it has also sought to “eliminate the use of plastic bags from check-outs, phased out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine of its stores in the Western United States”, the statement read.

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