IKEA has been taking some hits lately regarding some food and supplier issues. Since there has been enough written about those stories we won’t discuss them here. Some scoff at IKEA, but they have a very good business model that has a cult like following. They have made it possible for people to put furniture in rooms in a fairly economical way. But, the good news story is about their progress toward a goal of being energy independent by 2020. They are well on their way.
Not being an US headquartered company, IKEA is less influenced by some of the inane positions we have in our country that hold back cohesive energy planning and mask the major progress we have made. IKEA has set in motion a plan to be energy independent using solar and wind energy. And, quoting Dr. Phil ,”the difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline.” In Charlotte, IKEA just rolled out their 39th solar panel farm out of their 44 US stores. Per Alison Angel of The Charlotte Business Journal, IKEA built 4,228 solar photovoltaics panels on its rooftop, enough to produce 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity which would power 140 homes. They sell back the surplus power to Duke Energy.
IKEA also will be building 100 windmills to further their goal of energy independence. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, solar projects need not be large to accomplish the task. In fact, the major success is a confederation of a significant number of small and medium size projects. The wind projects need not be huge either. In NC, Appalachian State University is partnering with several schools to power the schools and neighbors with wind energy while teaching wind energy science to the students.
Note that being a non-US company, the words coal, natural gas, nuclear power or oil were not part of the plan. They don’t have to be, as you want to live safely around the electricity you are developing. The IKEA model is a vision of what the future holds. The nice part is the projects become more affordable as each month passes. Solar energy is down to 70 cents a watt to produce here, plus the installation costs are far less than a fossil fuel plant. In Durham, Semprius produces a solar panel that converts 40% more of the sun’s energy than the previous model. So, strides are being made and will continue to be made.
I find these stories exhilarating as they are on the right path forward. They get downplayed so much, many are convinced this industry is fledgling as is the wind energy. Our NC GOP legislators were amazed that NC was the 5th most prolific solar energy state in the US and has now moved up to 4th. They were too busy with their head in the GOP talking points to notice the world was changing. I am only being facetious a little on this point.
So, let’s celebrate these successes. In my lifetime, our future will be solar and wind powered neighborhoods, communities and schools.We just need some concerted efforts and information sharing to get us there. We need to share the success stories. This stuff is happening and it is real. Well done IKEA. Maybe they will sell solar panel kits in the future.