Ikea store in Bloomington has gone solar

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 8:25 PM

The Swedish furniture chain said the Bloomington system can power the equivalent of 100 homes each year.

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The solar panels on top of the Ikea store in Bloomington generate about the same amount of power as a small wind turbine.

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is now generating electricity atop its store in Bloomington near the Mall of America.

Depending on sunshine, the 142,000 square feet of solar panels will generate up to 80 percent of the store's electrical needs, Ikea spokeswoman Brooke Nelson said Tuesday.

The 1-megawatt system is the largest solar array in Minnesota. It generates the equivalent of the power needed by 100 homes, or roughly the output of one small wind turbine.

The Bloomington store marks the 31st U.S. solar project for Ikea, with eight more locations in development. The company said it has invested $590 million in renewable energy projects around the world.

SoCore Energy, based in Chicago, designed the system for the Bloomington store.

Unlike some large solar arrays, Ikea's won't sell excess electricity back to the local utility, Nelson said.

It's unlikely to remain the largest in Minnesota for long. A 2-megawatt project near Slayton, Minn., is slated to begin construction next month, said Chris Little, development director for Ecos Energy, the project's sponsor.

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