The Norfolk Ikea will have the largest solar rooftop array in Hampton Roads

For the development, design and installation of the new store’s solar power system, Ikea selected REC Solar, a national leader in solar electric design and installation with more than 580 systems built across the U.S. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Ikea)
For the development, design and installation of the new store’s solar power system, Ikea selected REC Solar, a national leader in solar electric design and installation with more than 580 systems built across the U.S. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Ikea)

NORFOLK — Ikea on Thursday said its future store here will be equipped with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations when it opens spring 2019.

Ikea Norfolk will feature a 180,000-square-foot solar array, which will consist of a 1.26 MW system, built with 3,654 panels, and produce approximately 1,743,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,233 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 262 cars or providing electricity for 215 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator), according to the home furnishings retailer.

For the development, design and installation of the new store’s solar power system, Ikea selected REC Solar, a national leader in solar electric design and installation with more than 580 systems built across the U.S.

In addition, the store will have three Blink electric vehicle charging stations. This initiative reflects the continued partnership between Ikea and Blink Charging Co., a leading owner, operator and provider of electric vehicle charging station products and networked EV charging services with thousands of public charging stations in the U.S. There are currently Blink EV charging units at 34 Ikea stores in the U.S.

“We are excited to further our sustainability commitment with the installation of the largest solar rooftop array in the area and EV charging stations at our future Ikea Norfolk store,” said Lisa Davis, sustainability manager, Ikea U.S. “At IKEA, we want to have a positive impact on people and the planet, and these investments support our objectives to reduce our emissions and achieve energy independence by 2020.”

This installation will represent the 56th solar project for IKEA in the U.S., and contribute to the company’s solar presence atop nearly 90 percent of its U.S. locations, with a total generation of more than 56 MW, according to the company.

Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 750,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 441 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S.

To charge an EV at the future Ikea Norfolk, drivers can tap their Blink InCard (RFID card) to the reader below the screen, initiate the session directly from the Blink Mobile application, or use a guest code provided via the Blink Mobile app, www.BlinkCode.com, or Blink Customer Support (888-998-2546). Once the session is initiated, drivers can shop and eat at their leisure in the Ikea store while their vehicle is charging. EV drivers can become a Blink member for free and typically receive discounted charging fees at thousands of Blink units. More information about how to use the Blink EV charging stations and how to become a Blink Member is available at blinkcharging.com.

The future 331,000-square-foot Ikea Norfolk store will be on 19 acres on the northwestern corner of Interstate 64 and Northampton Boulevard. It will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area and a 450-seat restaurant serving traditional Swedish and American fare, including Ikea meatballs, the company said.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.