IKEA -- that bastion of meatballs, hex screwdrivers and Swedish modern home furnishings -- announced last week that it will install solar panels on eight of its California locations, totaling about 90 percent of its operations in the state.
The retailer plans to begin installation late this fall, and to give you a sense of the scope of the project, it will involve nearly 20,000 panels, total 4.5 megawatts of capacity and have an annual output of 6.65 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, about enough to power 580 homes for a year.
The facilities to receive the panels include its three stores in Northern California (East Palo Alto, Emeryville and West Sacramento), four stores in southern California (Burbank, Costa Mesa, Covina and San Diego) and its distribution center in Tejon, which the company says is one of the top 10 largest rooftop commercial systems in the U.S.
Here's a rundown of each solar project:
- Burbank: 35,000 sq. ft. at 290 kW; 1,260 panels generating 421,300 kWh/year
- Costa Mesa: 30,000 sq. ft. at 248 kW; 1,078 panels generating 353,800 kWh/year
- Covina: 54,000 sq. ft. at 451 kW; 1,960 panels generating 651,800 kWh/year
- East Palo Alto: 36,000 sq. ft. at 302 kW; 1,316 panels generating 427,900 kWh/year
- Emeryville: 65,000 sq. ft. at 537 kW; 2,338 panels generating 760,300 kWh/year
- San Diego: 30,000 sq. ft. at 251 kW; 1,092 panels generating 366,400 kWh/year
- West Sacramento: 69,000 sq. ft. at 573 kW; 2,492 panels generating 795,500 kWh/year
- Tejon: 216,000 sq. ft. at 1,800 kW; 7,980 panels generating 2.8 million kWh/year
As you can see, the distribution center, not the retail stores, has the lion's share of the investment.
IKEA is no stranger to corporate sustainability, of course, and has built a business around finding efficiencies in materials, distribution, facilities and operations. The company already has solar systems in place in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; Tempe, Ariz.; Charlotte, N.C.; Draper, Utah; and Orlando and Tampa, Fla.
It also is in the process of incorporating a geothermal system into a new store in Centennial, Colo.
Photo: REC Solar's installation at the Palm Bluffs building in Fresno, Calif. (REC Solar)