EAST PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in East Palo Alto, California. The 38,000-square-foot array consists of a 302-kW system, built with approximately 1,344 panels. IKEA East Palo Alto’s program will produce approximately 427,900 kWh of clean electricity annually – the equivalent of reducing 326 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 58 cars or powering 35 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
This initiative by IKEA will contribute to the local utility’s renewable portfolio goals and will lower the carbon intensity of the electrical grid. The East Palo Alto effort represents the seventh solar energy project for IKEA in the United States. Systems already are operational in: Brooklyn, NY, Burbank, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Tejon, CA, and Tempe, AZ, with both a solar energy system and a geothermal system operational at the Denver-area store opening this July in Centennial, CO. Also, there currently are plans underway to install systems at five other IKEA locations in California as well as eight more in the Eastern U.S.
For the development, design and installation of this customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with Gloria Solar, the U.S. operating group focused on the photovoltaic business within the family of E-Ton Solar Group. This project is the second IKEA installation in the 70,000-square-mile service area of PG&E, the utility providing natural gas and electric service to approximately 15 million people throughout northern and central California.
“Our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many, and at IKEA East Palo Alto, we are happy to do so with this effort,” said Jill Matherson, store manager. “A solar energy system will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community. We appreciate the continued support of the City of East Palo Alto, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Gloria Solar, our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and strives for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs.
Located on 10.5 acres at US-101 and University Avenue, the 290,000-s.f. IKEA East Palo Alto opened August 2003 and employs approximately 300 coworkers. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA East Palo Alto presents 50 different room-settings, three 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. Other family-friendly features include a Children’s IKEA area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.
IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 320 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.