Multinational furniture giants IKEA have announced an ambitious plan to have all of their Australian centres 100 per cent self-powered by 2025 – and even have enough power left over to feed into the national grid.
IKEA operates 10 of its massive stores in Australia in every state and territory except for the Northern Territory and Tasmania. They have become extremely popular with their Swedish-styled ready to assemble furniture, homewares and kitchen supplies.
Now, Australia will be their test pilot for the world as all 10 of those stores move to be 100 per cent solar-powered.
The project will begin in Adelaide where IKEA has already signed off on partnerships with the South Australian Government (which has provided $1.95 million in funding), Planet Ark Power, SA Power Networks and Epic Energy to commence the construction of the micro-grid. The project will commence with 1.2MW of solar panels, which will be placed on the roof that will feed power into a 3.4MWh battery and a digital energy management system. That will give the store the ability to feed power back into the state grid when demand is at its highest.
Once the store itself is powered by solar panels, attention will turn to the car park where shade sails will be installed with extra panels which will cover the lighting and other energy needs outside of the store itself. The Tempe store in New South Wales is likely to be next, as it already has panels installed on its roof.
Solar plan set to provide power to motorists and national grid
On top of powering each of the IKEA stores, the plan includes scope to produce excess power to feed into the national grid to help Australia’s push for more renewable energy use and fewer emissions from coal-powered electricity stations.
Shoppers will also be able to charge their electric vehicles under the plan, with on-site electrical vehicle chargers. IKEA Australia chief executive officer Jan Gardberg said he hoped their push would inspire more companies around the world – and in Australia – to follow suit.
“Our ambition is to be the first mover and inspire other Ikea stores to install larger solar installations, batteries and digital solutions,” he said.
“(The project’s) energy management system will support the balancing of the electricity grid not just on stores in Australia, but across the Ikea network around the world.”
IKEA set to grow in Australia, along with their solar ambitions
While there are just 10 ‘blue box’ warehouse-type stores in Australia at present, IKEA recently announced plans for an additional 30 stores to be rolled out across the country.
And that plan also includes expanding the range to include selling solar panels for residential and commercial use, off the shelf in Australian stores.
IKEA is also planning to expand its online sales model, centred around the $150 million distribution centre in Sydney’s Marsden Park, which will include the sale of solar panels in the near future.