Maybe IKEA as the world’s leading home furnishings retailer will be the place to go in the near future for home and business owners to buy cheap and effective solar window units for everyday use.
They could be designed for do-it-yourselfers to attach to an exterior wall or a roof section of a house to power a window air conditioner or portable heater, which provide comfort for zone heating or cooling but normally eat a lot of electricity. Or window solar units could be in place as backup power sources when the electricity unexpectedly goes out during a storm or utility equipment malfunction.
IKEA would be the likely source. The company this week announced that it has the largest rooftop, solar array in the state of Kansas, significantly reducing the electricity that it draws from the utility company. The 2,394 panels are spread over 92,000 square feet. They could annually provide electricity for 94 homes and substantially reduce IKEA’s carbon footprint because less coal would have to be burned by the power company to keep IKEA’s lights on.
The Merriam store is the 41st solar project for IKEA in the United States. A company news release explains that IKEA has solar atop close to 90 percent of its U.S. locations.
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IKEA owns and operates each of its solar energy systems. It has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. The company has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings worldwide and owns close to 160 wind turbines in Europe and Canada; 104 are being built in the U.S.
IKEA, based in Sweden since 1943, opened the 359,000-square-foot Merriam store in 2014 near Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive. In addition to solar power, the store also has a geothermal component for its heating and cooling system.
So IKEA would be the perfect place for consumers to add solar to their own homes or businesses, with IKEA providing do-it-yourself help.