IKEA goes solarfatika at Tejon distribution center

IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant yesterday (May 11) unveiled California’s second-largest photovoltaic rooftop on their distribution center in Tejon, Calif. The 1.8 megawatt array is just the latest in a series of solar installations the company is making, including a 498 kilowatt system at their newest store in Centennial, Colo.

“Having solar panels on the roof of this distribution center demonstrates that the company’s sustainable commitment extends beyond our stores into all facets of the retail operations,” Martin Grieder, distribution operations manager for Western North America, said in a press release. “This solar photovoltaic system will reduce significantly the carbon footprint and electricity costs of this facility and will continue the global and U.S. initiative of IKEA to incorporate sustainable practices wherever feasible,” he said.

The installation is the second largest rooftop array in the state and sixth largest in the U.S., at this point. IKEA contracted with REC Solar to install the system and worked with Kern County and Pacific Gas & Electric on the project. The array consists of a 7,980 REC Group panels that cover 370,000 square feet of the warehouse’s rooftop.

The array is grid-tied and net-metered, allowing it to feed power back into the grid when the system is producing excess energy. However, the company did not say how much of the warehouse’s energy needs will be met by the array. “We don't provide specifics about our usage, but obviously the Tejon facility's generation is significant and the warehouse does not require much electricity,” said IKEA spokesperson Joseph Roth.

The company has now installed roughly 2.9 megawatts of solar at facilities in the U.S., in the states of California, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona, according to Roth. More are following. For instance, the Centennial, Colo., store, when it’s completed will add nearly 500 kilowatts of solar to IKEA’s renewable energy use. The Colorado store also will use an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system, being evaluated by NREL.

In all, the company is installing photovoltaics at nine locations. “All IKEA locations worldwide are being evaluated for feasibility of potential solar energy programs,” Roth said.

Image courtesy of REC Solar