Ikea solar plans in city's hands

Store on South Coast Drive would install 1,120 solar panels, eliminating 42,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, city official says.

January 13, 2011|By Mona Shadia,

COSTA MESA — Ikea is planning to light up its store using the power of the sun.

The Sweden-based furniture chain last week applied for a permit with the city to install solar panels on the roof of its South Coast Drive store, said Khanh Nguyen, a Costa Mesa building official.

"We've been following solar energy technology as it's been advancing, and now we concluded that it's definitely feasible for us to efficiently and effectively implement the solar-energy programs at certain stores," said Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth.


The 1,120 panels the store plans to install are expected to generate 250 kilowatts — enough to light up 2,500 regular light bulbs, said Nguyen.

The panels would supplement the power grid and provide energy during sunny days, he said.

The company is installing the panels at seven of its eight stores in California, and at one warehouse, Roth said.

"It's a very significant investment," Roth said. "But we have concluded that it's definitely very cost-effective for us from a financial standpoint and it reinforces our commitment to the environment."

Each year, the solar panels at the Costa Mesa store can produce enough energy to eliminate 42,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the environment, which is equal to planting 460 trees annually, Nguyen said.

Once approved, Ikea's solar panels will be Costa Mesa's largest commercial photovoltaic rooftop system, Nguyen said.

Last year, the city installed a similar system at the Neighborhood Community Center. The system there is generating 118 kilowatts, he said.

"The city has always been green," Nguyen said. "We want residents to save energy. We want residents to use renewable energy as much as possible. It's clean energy."

City staff are in the process of planning checks and the review is expected to be completed by noon Friday, Nguyen said. The solar panels are expected to be completed and up in early spring, Roth said.

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