IKEA has developed some innovative green designs over the years, but now the home furnishings retailer has the distinction of having the largest photovoltaic array in the state of Michigan. The 122,200-square-foot PV array was officially plugged-in today, and consists of a 977.6-kW system built with 4,160 panels. Installed at the Detroit-area store in Canton, the array will produce approximately 1,114,943 kWh of clean electricity annually — that’s the equivalent of reducing 769 tons of carbon dioxide, or the annual emissions of 151 cars or 96 homes.

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In a statement, IKEA said: “This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. This Canton installation represents the 20th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 19 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.”

The array was constructed by SoCore Energy, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the Midwest and developer of more than 65 U.S. commercial PV installations. Unsurprisingly, the store manager was elated with the new array. “We are thrilled at how this solar energy system furthers our commitment to sustainability at IKEA Canton,” said Anton van Dongen, store manager.  “IKEA has a never-ending job where most things remain to be done that encourages us always to ask ourselves how we can improve what we do today for a better tomorrow. We appreciate the support of the Canton Township, Detroit Edison and SoCore Energy, our partners in this project.”

The solar array is one of several eco-friendly initiatives that the Swedish company has implemented. Included among them are evaluating locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrating innovative materials into product design, working with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources and, of course, producing flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. The company has also championed recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.), incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycling construction materials, eliminating plastic bags, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs, and installing electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S!

+ IKEA-USA.com

Images: IKEA and N A I T