Home furnishings giant IKEA has revealed plans to reduce its carbon emissions as well as its dependence on fossil fuels. By investing a total of £4 million, the company intends to install more than 39,000 solar panels across 10 of its UK-based stores, providing approximately 5% of each building’s electricity needs.

The solar installations – which come after energy efficient measures helped the company to reduce energy consumption by 19% – form part of the company’s global ‘IKEA Goes Renewable’ project, which aims to ensure that all IKEA operations across the world use 100% renewable energy in the long-term.

In total 31,000m2 of roof space will be covered by the panels, which will generate around 1,600,000kWh per year – or enough to power 492 homes. This amount of energy is expected to reduce IKEA UK’s CO2 consumption on average by 662 tonnes per year during the first 25 years of the installations’ operation.

Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer for IKEA Group 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 aim for all IKEA UK buildings to be fitted with solar panels in the long-term. As well as reducing our impact on the environment, these initiatives come with a strong financial incentive as consuming less energy means we spend less money, which helps us lower the prices on our products.”

“As part of our global ‘IKEA Goes Renewable’ programme, we are committed to heavily investing in making IKEA buildings more energy efficient and use more renewable energy. Following a thorough audit of all our existing buildings in the UK, we have also created action plans for each, which includes retro-fit measures to improve energy efficiency.”

John Sauven, Executive Director at Greenpeace UK said, “IKEA is providing a powerful voice to those who believe a better energy future for the world will come through energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy. Together, governments, organisations and individuals can change the way the world generates and uses energy.”

IKEA has partnered with GS Solar for the installations, which will supply, install and maintain the systems consisting of GS Solar GS-55 panels, Solutronic SOLPLUS 120 inverters and Profinal, Northmount mounting systems. Each project will vary in size according to location.

IKEA Cardiff:248kWp
IKEA Edinburgh:171kWp
IKEA Edmonton:294kWp
IKEA Glasgow:138kWp
IKEA Milton Keynes:330kWp
IKEA Nottingham:138kWp
IKEA Southampton:292kWp
IKEA Warrington:244kWp
IKEA Wednesbury:143kWp
IKEA Wembley:121kWp

The Milton Keynes and Edmonton store installations are now fully operational while IKEA stores including Warrington and Southampton will be fully operational in the coming weeks. The company is aiming for all installation work across the other six stores to be complete by March 2012. No comment has been made on how the recent feed-in tariff cuts will affect the company's solar installations.

The company also plans to purchase 12.3MW wind farm in Huntly, Aberdeenshire in North Scotland.