IKEA Canada is installing solar panels on its stores in Calgary and Edmonton as part of the retailer’s commitment to renewable energy.
Brendan Seale, head of sustainability for IKEA Canada, said the investments support the company’s objectives to manage energy costs effectively, reduce emissions, and achieve energy independence by 2020. Once operational, the solar installations will reduce the company’s annual energy use in Alberta by approximately 25 per cent.
IKEA Canada partnered with Energy Efficiency Alberta to finance the two solar projects.
“Our vision as a company is to create a better everyday life for the many people. So when we think about that vision, it goes a little bit beyond having a nice living room and for our customers that just walk through our doors,” said Seale. “A better every day life is much broader than that. The many people are certainly more than just the customers that walk through our doors.
“We’ve got a really ambitious sustainability strategy which is called People and Planet Positive. And quite simply we want to have a positive impact on society and on the planet through our business. One of the key commitments that we’ve made in that strategy is to pursue energy independence by 2020. We want to actually generate more renewable energy than the total energy that we consume around the world.”
The solar panels in Calgary and Edmonton will be fully operational in the coming weeks.
The company said IKEA Edmonton will be one of the largest commercial rooftop solar systems in the city, with 2,905 panels. It will produce an estimated 1,180 megawatts of energy per year, making it among the most productive systems owned by IKEA Canada. The system will offset approximately 878 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
The IKEA Calgary system will have 2,240 panels, is estimated to provide 1,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, and will offset approximately 744 tonnes of C02 emissions per year.
“Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Residential and Commercial Solar Program offers incentives for homes, businesses and non-profits,” said Monica Curtis, CEO of Energy Efficiency Alberta, in a statement. “We’re very pleased to support IKEA in Calgary and Edmonton by contributing 25 per cent of the total cost of the projects which will reduce C02 by over 40,000 tonnes over their lifetimes.”
In Calgary, the reduction of emissions equates to taking about 200 vehicles off the road for a year or equivalent to about 100 homes for power and emissions.
“If you would combine that with the Edmonton installation and look at it over the lifetime of the project – so we expect them to operate for 20 to 25 years – it would be like keeping 100,000 barrels of oil in the ground or about 17 million litres of gasoline for vehicles or like swapping out 1.5 million incandescent bulbs and replacing them with LEDs,” said Seale.
IKEA Canada partnered with RESCo Energy Inc. for the design, installation and maintenance of the solar systems.
IKEA Canada’s Oldman 2 and Wintering Hills wind farms in Alberta produce over 130 MW, enough to power approximately 86 IKEA stores or 41,000 homes. The retailer has solar panels on all five Ontario stores and its store in Halifax.
Internationally, the home furnishing retailer has 357 stores in more than 29 countries. IKEA Canada has 14 stores, an eCommerce virtual store, six pickup and order points and 17 collection points.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.