Privately held international home products company, IKEA is in the process of installing 2,600 solar panels on the roof of its Wednesbury, Birmingham branch. Following a £278,600 investment the store now expects to generate around 112,600kWh of electricity per year, reducing the store’s CO2 consumption by over 1,148 tonnes over 25 years. The solar panels will be fully operational by December 2011.

In total, the company is investing close to £4 million in fitting over 39,000 solar panels to the rooftops of ten UK-based IKEA stores in Cardiff, Edmonton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Southampton, Warrington, Birmingham, and Wembley. The installations will provide on average 5% of each building’s electricity needs.

Delphine Wolfe, Head of Consultancy for the National Energy Foundation said, “We are very excited with IKEA’s new solar PV system. It is one of the largest solar roofs in Birmingham 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.”

Marsha Buckley, IKEA Birmingham’s Store Manager said, “Taking care of people and the environment is integral to how we do business, so we are continually working to significantly reduce our carbon footprint from all parts of our operations, while helping to reduce CO2 emissions in society. We believe that our solar panel initiative marks a major milestone in our ambition to source 100% renewable energy.”

IKEA UK aims for all solar installation work to be complete by March 2012.