Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Up On the Ikea Roof

It is one of the most obvious places to put a solar array: on the otherwise bare roof of a large commercial building. Furniture retailer Ikea is two years into a plan to take advantage of its roof space with solar installations on top of most of its U.S. stores. It has just completed a solar array on the roof of the Twin Cities Ikea store in Bloomington, Minnesota store. The rooftop array will generate an amount of electricity comparable to the electricity used to operate the store. (The exact amount, as with any solar installation, depends on each day’s weather.) Last month it was the same story at the Ikea store in Canton, Michigan.

At both Ikea stores, the rooftop array is the largest solar array in the state. The mere fact that Ikea can make this claim in multiple states tells you how much untapped rooftop potential there is. It would make more sense if the U.S. government was doing this kind of proof-of-concept project on its own rooftops, as I have proposed previously, but we can hope that other businesses with large buildings will look to duplicate Ikea’s success.