Solar so good as IKEA turns its roof into a renewable power plant

The roof at IKEA is now a solar power plant
The roof at IKEA is now a solar power plant
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UP to 10 per cent of the electricity used at the massive IKEA store in Milton Keynes is being generated through solar panels on its huge roof.

The company has invested a whopping £562,000 in the 5,978 photovoltaic (PV) panels at its site off Bletcham Way.

It generates around around 246,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, enough to power an estimated 75 local homes.

Built to operate effectively for 25 years, it is anticipated that this initiative will reduce IKEA Milton Keynes’ total CO2 consumption by over 2,500 tonnes over this time period. The solar panels are now fully operational.

IKEA UK aims for all installation work to be complete by March. In total, 31,000 sq-m of roof space will be covered by solar panels, which will generate around 1,600,000 kWh per year, enough to power 492 homes.

Delphine Wolfe, head of consultancy for the National Energy Foundation said: “We are very excited with IKEA’s new solar PV system. It is the largest solar roof in Milton Keynes and there’s no doubt that it will inspire the whole community, businesses and householders alike, about the benefits of solar PV, hence promoting this technology locally.”

The solar panel initiative follows news that installing energy efficient measures has helped the home furnishings company reduce energy consumption by 19 per cent.

Since 2005 the company has opened six new stores with only a 10 per cent increase in combined energy use.

Stephen Baxter, IKEA Milton Keynes’ acting store manager, said: “We believe that our solar panel initiative marks a major milestone in our ambition to source 100 per cent renewable energy.”

The store is going green in other ways, too. It burns renewable wood materials to produce heat for heating and hot water. This can provide up to 100 per cent of the store’s heating requirements.

IKEA Milton Keynes also has a rainwater harvesting system in place to collect rain water from its roof, which is stored, and used to flush the toilets.

The store can last over a month without any rainfall before needing to take fresh water.