Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA has flipped the "on" switch for several new locations this week, and is laying claim to the biggest rooftop photovoltaic arrays in Michigan and Virginia.
The new systems range in capacity from about 500 kilowatts to more than 1,000 kilowatts. Here are some of the particulars:
- Tampa, Fla. - The 148,700-square-foot photovoltaic array was built with 4,956 panels and will produce approximately 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The system was designed and developed by REC Solar, which has handled more than 8,000 such projects across the United States.
- Canton, Mich. - Slightly smaller than the Tampa installation, this is a 122,200-square-foot photovoltaic array with 4,160 panels. It has a generating capacity of 977.6 kilowatts. The array is the largest of its kind in the state, and it was built by SoCore Energy.
- Woodbridge, Va.: About half the size of the other two installations announced this week, the array is nonetheless the biggest of its type in Virginia. The generation capacity of 504 kilowatts is product by 2,100 panels in a 63,000-square-foot array.
IKEA already draws about 50 percent of the electricity needs for IKEA buildings from renewable sources. At the end of 2011, it had 60 operational wind turbines and 40 solar panel installations, which generated about 12 percent of the energy running its stores and distribution centers.
IKEA is targeting solar generation capacity of 38 megawatts. IKEA owns and operates all of the systems installed on its stores, rather than running them through power purchase agreements.