IKEA Southampton Goes Solar!

IKEA Southampton is going to be installing one of the region’s largest solar panel projects, turning sunshine into electricity and providing up to 10% of the store’s electricity needs.

Following a £495,000 investment, the company has fitted 4,992 photovoltaic (solar) panels to the rooftop of its store on West Quay Road, generating around 217,450 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, enough to power 66 local homes.

Solar panels

Built to operate effectively for 25 years, it is anticipated that this initiative will reduce IKEA Southampton’s total CO2 consumption by over 2,200 tonnes over this time period. The solar panels are now fully operational.

In total, the company is investing close to £4 million in fitting over 39,000 photovoltaic (solar) panels to the rooftops of ten IKEA stores2. This will provide on average 5% of each store’s electricity needs, or almost enough energy to power around half of one of the company’s 18 UK based stores with solar energy alone.

IKEA UK aims for all installation work to be complete by March 2012. In total, 31,000m2 of roof space will be covered by solar
panels, which will generate around 1,600,000 kWh per year, enough to power 492 homes1. Built to operate effectively for 25 years, it is anticipated that the solar panels will reduce IKEA UK’s CO2 consumption on average by 662 tonnes per year during this first 25 years of the installations’ operation3.

Delphine Wolfe, Head of Consultancy for the National Energy Foundation said:

 “IKEA’s commitment for sustainability issues is exceptional. It provides a real inspiration to all businesses wanting to develop their green credentials. Now with their solar installations, IKEA not only reduces its carbon footprint, it also sends a powerful message to all its consumers, promoting renewable energy generation as well as energy efficiency measures.”

The solar panel initiative follows news that installing energy efficient measures has helped the home furnishings company reduce energy consumption by 19%4. Since 2005 the company has opened six new stores with only a 10% increase in combined energy use.

These efforts form part of the company’s global ‘IKEA Goes Renewable’ project5 which aims to secure that all IKEA operations across the world will use 100% renewable energy in the long-term.

Commenting on the initiative, Allesandra Taffe, IKEA Southampton’s Store Manager said:

“Taking care of people and the environment is integral to how we do business, so we are continually working to significantly reduce our carbon footprint from all parts of our operations, while helping to reduce CO2 emissions in society. We believe that our solar panel initiative marks a major milestone in our ambition to source 100% renewable energy.”