By Li Fangfang
Swedish home furnishing group Ikea said that it will partner with Hanergy Holding Group to install solar photovoltaic panels on all Ikea-owned buildings in China over the next three years, as part of its goal to only use renewable energy to power its buildings.
Once completed, the solar panels will provide 10 to 15 per cent of all the electricity needed to run Ikea stores and 100 per cent of the electricity needs of Ikea distribution centers in China, saving around 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
In addition to helping to power Ikea operations in China, the solar panels, manufactured and installed by Hanergy, will be also provided to the company's suppliers in China.
"Not only will we harness the sun to help power our stores and other buildings across China, but we will also extend the scope of the project over the coming year to our supply base across the country, enabling them to utilize an affordable and reliable supply of clean energy," said Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer of Ikea.
According to Howard, more than half of the energy needed to power Ikea's buildings around the world currently comes from renewable sources - primarily solar and wind power.
There are now over 250,000 solar panels on Ikea buildings and it owns and operates around 80 wind turbines.
Ikea has allocated 470 million euros (S$773 million) to invest in renewable energy, including the solar project in China and other investments that will be installed over the next three years.
Hanergy, a major privately owned power generation company in China with a solar production capacity of over 2000 megawatts, will be responsible for the engineering, procurement construction and installation of the solar panels on Ikea buildings in China.
The solar panels will provide enough energy to meet the total electricity needs of some Ikea buildings, particularly larger buildings with a lot of roof space, such as distribution centers, that require less energy.
China is the world's largest maker of solar panels, with leading manufacturers led by Hanergy, Yingli Solar, and Suntech Power Holdings.