Local IKEA builds an enormous solar array on its roof
on July 7, 2011
Furniture retail giant IKEA is putting solar panels on its store roofs all over the globe, including the one on the Oakland-Emeryville border. If you drive across the highway overpasses nearby, you can see the array coming into shape.
Once completed, the solar system, consisting of more than 2,300 solar panels, will take up 65,000 square feet and generate 760,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually said Joseph Roth, a public affairs officer for IKEA. Roth said all the energy will be consumed by the store but declined to specify the percentage it will make up of the building’s overall electricity consumption.
Roth also said he couldn’t disclose how much the project costs and how much money it will save the company. “We have done our analysis and are confident that this is a very smart business decision, ” he said, adding that in addition to the financial benefits, IKEA has a very strong commitment to the environment.
According to a statement released by IKEA last October, the electricity saved by the Emeryville store once the solar panel is in operation will be equivalent to reducing 602 tons of carbon dioxide, or the emissions from 104 cars, every year.
Prior to the Emeryville location, IKEA has already completed two similar projects on its stores in northern California—one in West Sacramento and the other in East Palo Alto. In addition to its retail stores, IKEA is also installing panels on its office buildings and distribution facilities. In May, the second largest solar system in the state was completed on the roof of the company’s Tejon Distribution Center located in Lebec, where 7,980 panels are going to produce almost 3 million kilowatt-hours of electric power every year.
According to power company PG&E’s website, IKEA will receive performance-based incentive payments through the California Solar Initiative, a rebate program offered by a number of utilities. However Roth said he could not release detailed information about how much IKEA is getting through the program.
The construction period of the Emeryville store will take longer than at the compay’s other stores because extra work had to be done in order to make the roof compatible with the solar panels, Roth said. The entire project will be completed in late August or early September.
Image: Solar panels on the roof of IKEA’s East Palo Alto store. Photo courtesy IKEA.
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