IKEA to build Washington State’s largest rooftop solar array

Yesterday IKEA announced that it has chosen REC Solar to develop, design and install a 1.18 MW solar PV system on its new store under construction near Seattle. IKEA expects installation to begin this fall, and when the project is complete this winter it will be the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Washington.

IKEA expects the 3,420 modules at its Renton store to produce 1.3 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, for a capacity factor of roughly 13%. While this is roughly half the output per watt of the average utility-scale project being built today, it is better than the average CF in Germany, and remarkably good considering that Washington State west of the Cascade Mountains has some of the lowest levels of annual sunlight in the continental United States.

This will be IKEA’s 44th PV project in the United States, and at this point the company has solar arrays on nearly 90% of its U.S. facilities, with a total capacity of over 40 MW. IKEA owns and operates these PV systems, and has committed to invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy globally through 2020, with the goal of being energy independent in that year.

The company has installed more than 700,000 PV modules at its facilities globally, and owns roughly 300 wind turbines.