Ikea completes Washington’s largest rooftop solar installation

This new Renton location, complete with a 244,000 square-foot rooftop solar array, is part of Ikea's efforts to become energy independent by 2020. (Photo from A&R Solar)
This new Renton location, complete with a 244,000 square-foot rooftop solar array, is part of Ikea’s efforts to become energy independent by 2020. (Photo from A&R Solar)

Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced Monday that they finished installing solar panels at their new Renton location, creating the largest rooftop solar installation anywhere in the state.

The solar array has 3,268 panels covering 244,000 square-feet and will produce roughly 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity every year. According to the EPA’s clean energy calculator, that’s equivalent to 886 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, the annual emissions from 187 cars, or the electricity used by 131 homes.

“Installing the solar panels is another exciting and sustainable step in the progress towards opening this relocated Seattle-area Ikea store,” said store manager Diedre Goodchild in a press release from Ikea.

The new 399,000 square-foot store will replace the current Renton store and is projected to open early this spring.

Ikea currently has rooftop solar panels at nearly 90 percent of its 43 U.S. locations, many of which are the largest solar arrays in their respective states. The company is committed to being energy independent by 2020 through the use of wind and solar energy generation.

Worldwide, there are over 370 Ikea stores in 48 countries, mostly concentrated in Europe, East Asia and the U.S. According to a 2016 interview with Ikea Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard, stores in northern Europe are already producing more energy than they consume. He predicts that U.S. locations will soon follow suit.

Ikea worldwide store locations. (Image franchisor.ikea.com)
Ikea worldwide store locations. (Image franchisor.ikea.com)

“Businesses have a vital role to play in unlocking the finance required to bring about a clean economy – with corporate innovation and investment we can decarbonize the power sector within a very short amount of time.” Howard said in an interview with RE100, a collaboration of businesses committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. “Actions speak louder than words and well-known names can demonstrate the strong business case for going 100% renewable.”

The solar array was designed by REC Solar Inc., one of the largest solar panel providers in the world. REC has collaborated with Ikea on a number of projects across the globe, including five new installations in Spain totaling 38,000 solar panels.

Luc Graré, Senior Vice President of Solar Sales and Marketing at REC said in a news release, “We are proud to be playing such an active role in IKEA’s commitment to renewable energy generation.”

We won’t know for sure if the new Renton store will generate enough electricity to offset its consumption until it opens in spring.

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