IKEA powers up solar energy in Tempe, Arizona

With company representatives, local officials and community leaders on-hand, IKEA, a home furnishings retailer, officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Tempe, Arizona. The 75,000 square foot array consists of two 300kW systems, each built with approximately 1,300 panels. IKEA Tempe’s solar program will produce approximately 1 million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing at least 760 tons of carbon dioxide (C02).

This effort represents the third active solar energy project for IKEA in the United States. Systems are operational in Brooklyn, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and plans are underway for installing programs at eight IKEA locations in California. Also, a geothermal system has been incorporated into the store under construction in Centennial, Colorado.

IKEA contracted with Gloria Solar for the development, design and installation of this customized solar power system. Gloria Solar is the United States operating group focused on the photovoltaic system business within the family of E-Ton Solar Group. This project – the largest commercial installation in SRP’s service area – is being implemented as part of the EarthWise Solar Energy program of SRP, the third-largest public power utility in the country. SRP provides more than 940,000 electric customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area through a variety of resources including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectricity.

Other sustainable efforts by IKEA include: integrating innovative materials into the production process; working with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources; flat-packing the goods for an efficient distribution system; recycling approximately 75 percent of the waste (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); and incorporating environmental measures into the construction of the buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, low volatile organic compound emitting paint, skylights in the warehouse and water conserving restrooms.

Located on 23 acres, the 342,000 square foot IKEA Tempe employs approximately 250 workers. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA Tempe presents 44 different room settings, 3 model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area and a 250 seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes.