The IKEA Group announced Wednesday its association with Hanergy, one of China’s largest companies in the renewable energy sector to install solar panels on its buildings in China.

Once the operation is completed, the solar panels should provide 10 to 15% of the total amount of electricity needed to run IKEA stores and 100% of the electricity needs of IKEA distribution centers in China, saving about 6,000 tons CO2 annually.

The solar panels will be manufactured and installed by Hanergy over the next three years.

“IKEA is committed long term to use 100% renewable energy to power its buildings and this initiative is an important and essential efforts made ​​to achieve this goal. We will not only harness the sun to help power our stores with electricity and other buildings in China, but we will also expand the scope of this project during the coming year to our supply base nationally allowing them to use clean energy affordable and reliable,” said Steve Howard, chief of sustainability, IKEA Group.

More than half of the energy required by IKEA buildings worldwide currently comes from renewable sources, mainly solar and wind. There are currently about 250,000 solar panels on buildings and the IKEA Group owns and operates approximately 80 wind turbines. The IKEA Group has invested 470 million euros in renewable energy, including solar project in China, and including other investments that will emerge in the next three years.

The power producer Hanergy which has in China a solar production capacity that exceeds 2000 MW, will be responsible for engineering, procurement, construction and installation of solar panels on IKEA buildings in China. The solar panels will produce enough energy to meet all electricity needs of some IKEA buildings, specifically the larger buildings with many roof surface, such as distribution centers, which require less energy.

“Our partnership with IKEA is an exciting opportunity to promote the intelligent use of photovoltaic technology in thin layers as a reliable, clean and different energy. Given the current context in which electricity demand is extremely high, this type of initiative has the potential to alleviate the national electricity grid, to support the activities of our clients and preserve the environment,” said Li Hejun, president of Hanergy.

In addition, IKEA also continues to reduce energy consumption by improving the efficiency of its stores.

During its last fiscal year, the energy consumption of IKEA stores fell 4% per m3 of goods sold, compared to fiscal 2010, primarily by improving the equipment of its stores (systems heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and a more conscientious use of commercial lighting). This has enabled IKEA to save 6.2 million euros a year, proving once again how sustainability improvements can generate significant commercial benefits.

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