As it continues installing rooftop solar at its stores across the U.S., home furnishings giant IKEA is also turning to fuel cell technology to further boost its clean energy efforts.
IKEA has “flipped the switch” on a fuel cell system at its store in New Haven, Conn. Slightly larger than a commercial back-up generator, the 250 kW project will produce approximately 2,081,376 kWh of electricity annually for the store. Combined with the 940.8 kW solar array installed atop the store in 2012, the fuel cell project will help generate a majority of the store’s energy on-site. Although the New Haven project represents IKEA’s first fuel cell system on the East Coast, the company notes it already operates fuel cell systems at five of its California stores, which also have on-site solar arrays.
“Plugging-in this fuel cell system is an exciting milestone that complements our existing rooftop solar array,” says Christof Stein, IKEA’s New Haven store manager. “Utilizing fuel cells will reduce our carbon footprint and help create an even more sustainable community here in New Haven.”
For the design, development and installation of the New Haven fuel cell system, IKEA contracted with Bloom Energy – a provider of solid oxide fuel cell technology for on-site power – to work in conjunction with local Connecticut contractors. This investment in fuel cell technology, as well as IKEA’s ongoing support of solar and wind power, reflects the company’s global goal to be energy independent by 2020.