Soon, Memphis will not only be able to boast an Ikea, but also Tennessee’s largest rooftop solar array.
The Memphis store will have a 251,000-square-foot solar array on its roof, Ikea announced. The building is under construction on a 35-acre lot along the southwest corner of I-40 near Germantown Parkway.
The rooftop solar array will be both the largest in Tennessee and one of the biggest amongst all U.S. Ikea stores, the retailer said.
“We have a proven track record of installing solar panels and are convinced that it is not just good business, but it is the right thing to do,” said Joseph Roth, U.S. expansion and property public affairs manager for Ikea.
Roth said since the Memphis store is one level, the large footprint allows for such a significant rooftop array to be constructed.
“It is fair to say it is among the larger in terms of square footage and in terms of generating capacity as well,” Roth said.
The solar array will consist of a 1.46 MW system comprised of more than 4,400 panels. It is expected to produce 2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually for the store. Ikea reported that amount to be the equivalent of reducing 1,406 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equal to the emissions of 297 cars or providing electricity for 205 homes a year.
Designation for the “largest solar rooftop array” does not come from the state, but rather from experts in the solar industry, Roth said.
“Solar trade associations verified that the size would make it the largest rooftop array,” Roth said. “There are larger ground mounted [solar arrays].”
Atlanta-based Hannah Solar was hired for the installation. Memphis will mark the 44th solar project for Ikea in the U.S. Ikea owns and operates all of its solar photovoltaic energy systems on its buildings.
The Swedish headquartered company has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on its buildings throughout the world and owns about 300 wind turbines – 104 of which are in the U.S. It plans to invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy through 2020.
“As much as we can support our own operations the better,” Roth said. “We essentially have a goal of being energy-independent as a company by 2020.”