IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed atop its store in Woodbridge, Virginia – the state’s largest such photovoltaic array. The 63,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 504-kW system, built with 2,100 panels. IKEA Woodbridge’s program will produce approximately 636,199 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 439 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 86 cars or powering 55 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of striving to improve the sustainability of our day-to-day business”
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and this Woodbridge installation represents the 21st completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 18 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Woodbridge store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., part of Gehrlicher AG, one of the world's ten largest independent PV project developers and system integrators.
“We at IKEA believe in the never-ending job of striving to improve the sustainability of our day-to-day business,” said Jackie DeChamps, IKEA Woodbridge store manager. “The IKEA coworkers in Woodbridge are excited to help contribute to this goal with our newly operational solar energy system. We appreciate the support of the Town of Woodbridge, Prince William County, NOVEC and Gehrlicher 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 aims 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, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 11.5 acres along I-95 on Potomac Mills Circle from the Prince Williams Parkway exit, the 325,000-square-foot IKEA Woodbridge opened in April 1986, with a new 300,000-square-foot store opening November 2001. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 48 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 350-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 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA 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.