By Michael Dietrich, Masters of Resource Law Degree Candidate 2011
Colorado's reputation as the center of the "new energy economy" received another boost recently when a major retailer announced plans for a solar power installation on the roof of a new building, which is being built just south of Denver.
One of the world's favorite furnishings retailers, Swedish-based IKEA, announced recently it will install a large solar array on the roof of its store under construction in Centennial. And this is not IKEA’s only venture into renewable power. The Centennial store is part of a new renewable energy initiative that includes eight other installations by IKEA, which it is estimated will eliminate the emmissions of 5,269 tons of CO2 a year, or the equivalent of keeping 856 cars off the road. Other solar projects include IKEA properties in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and Tempe, AZ. Solar water heating systems are being used in Charlotte, NC, Draper, UT, Orlando and Tampa, FL.
The new Centennial store is scheduled to open next fall, and will consist of 60,000-square-foot solar array built by REC Solar, according to a statement from IKEA.
It is estimated the 2,212 panels will produce approximately 740,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, equal to the emissions of 102 cars or providing electricity for 64 homes in a year. The 415,000-square-foot store will also be the first IKEA store in the country to integrate a geothermal component as part of its heating and cooling system.
“We are excited about furthering our sustainability commitment with solar panels on the future Centennial store,” said Doug Greenholz, IKEA U.S. real estate manager. “Similar to geothermal, solar energy will reduce greatly the new store’s energy costs and carbon footprint as well as contribute to our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many.”