Ikea wants to generate all its own energy, and its distribution centers and stores are ideal places for solar systems, according to chief sustainability officer Steve Howard. “You can turn a fallow roof into a fertile economic asset,” he says. In 10 states, Ikea now has the largest single rooftop installations.
550,000 solar panels. 1 million panels planned by 2016. Thirteen wind farms. You might be thinking we’re talking about a fair-sized utility. But no. The company with all this renewable energy capacity is actually Ikea. The flatpack giant is becoming a renewable power house.
Such is Ikea’s advance, it’s no longer impressed with traditional energy producers. Howard thinks their days are numbered. “I had a Chinese energy company present to us recently about their portfolio,” he says. “I whispered to my colleague ‘we’re a bigger than them and we’re a home furnishing company.'”
According to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, six of the top 10 in U.S. are big-box chains. Walmart has the highest installed base, with 89.43 megawatts and 215 sites. It’s followed by Costco (47.06) and Kohl’s (44.72), with Apple (40.73) and Ikea (35.08) next.
1. Walmart: 89 megawatts
2. Costco: 47 megawatts
3. Kohl’s: 45 megawatts
4. Apple: 41 megawatts
5. Ikea: 35 megawatts
6. Macy’s: 21 megawatts
7. Johnson & Johnson: 17 megawatts
8. McGraw Hill: 14 megawatts
9. Staples: 13 megawatts
10. Campbell’s: 12 megawatts