Where is Washington State’s Largest Solar Rooftop?

The installation marks the 45th solar project for IKEA in the U.S.

By Gail Kalinoski

Renton, Wash.—Home furnishings retailer IKEA continues its renewable energy efforts at stores in the United States, completing the largest solar rooftop array in Washington state atop its future Seattle-area store.

Renton, Wash., IKEA store
Renton, Wash., IKEA store

The 399,000-square-foot Renton, Wash., store will be opening in the spring with a 244,000-square-foot solar installation on its roof. It consists of a 1.13 MW system with 3,268 panels expected to generate about 1.26 million kWh of electricity annually for the store. The new store is being built on the parking lot of the current IKEA in Renton near State Highway 167, about 11 miles from downtown Seattle. During the construction, IKEA has been running shuttles to the retail site at busy times because of the loss of parking spaces at the 29-acre parcel.

“Installing the solar panels is another exciting and sustainable step in the progress towards opening this relocated Seattle-area IKEA store,” Store Manager Diedre Goodchild said in a prepared statement. “IKEA strives to create a sustainable life for communities in which we operate, and our new Renton store is adding to this goal with Washington’s largest rooftop solar array.”

REC Solar, a national leader in solar installations, designed the store’s solar project, which was installed by A&R Solar of Seattle. Deacon Corp. is managing the store construction.

The Renton installation is the 45th solar project for IKEA in the U.S., contributing to the IKEA solar presences atop nearly 90 percent of its U.S. locations, with a total generation goal of more than 40 MW. IKEA owns and operates its solar energy systems. The Swedish-based company has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, including owning approximately 300 wind turbines, more than 100 in the U.S.

In addition to solar arrays, the company’s other sustainable efforts include electric vehicle charging stations offered in at least 14 U.S. locations; recycling waste material; installing energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems and water-conserving rest rooms; recycling construction materials and putting skylights in warehouses.

The Renton store isn’t the only IKEA location to get solar arrays in the past few months. The Memphis store, which opened in December, has Tennessee’s largest rooftop solar array. IKEA is putting a solar installation atop its Columbus store due to open in the summer, according to the Solar Industry magazine. Other IKEA locations that got solar projects in 2016 included Canton, Mich., and Las Vegas. In November, IKEA said it would install solar panels on its Midwest distribution center under construction in Joliet, Ill. The distribution center, due to open this spring, is getting a 470-545-square-foot solar array that will consist of a 2.91-MW system with 8,966 panels.

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