IKEA Australia transforming big blue boxes into green power stations

IKEA

IKEA Australia has announced the launch of an Australian first clean energy storage initiative that will support the South Australian power grid, in addition to powering its Adelaide store.

The IKEA Australia Clean Energy Transformation Project will transition IKEA Adelaide to operating with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 and will generate low cost clean energy for the Adelaide community. The project is being run in conjunction with Planet Ark Power, the South Australian Government, SA Power Networks and Epic Energy.

Stage 1 of the project will see 1.2MW of solar panels installed onsite on the rooftop of IKEA.

Adelaide, coupled with a 3.4MWh onsite battery, managed by Planet Ark Power’s unique digital platform–eleXsys energy management system. The owner and operator of the microgrid, Epic Energy, will provide over 70 per cent of the store’s electricity consumption. The installation of the eleXsys technology solution will enable the surplus stored clean energy to be traded into the South Australian network when demand is at its highest.

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As part of the project, EV chargers will be erected on site for customers, co-workers and the IKEA delivery fleet servicing South Australia.

The second stage of the project will include the construction of sustainably sourced timber PV shade structures across the IKEA Adelaide car park. These structures will host additional solar panels which will increase the amount of surplus energy to be sold into the grid while continuing to power the site. This stage will generate a further 30 per cent the store’s energy needs, resulting in IKEA Adelaide becoming 100 per cent powered by onsite renewable generation.

Following these stages, IKEA and its partners will move to investigate the viability of hydrogen energy being generated on site. Based on the success of the project, in the future there is also the possibility for IKEA to transform itself into an energy provider that can create and sell clean, renewable energy to the energy network.

IKEA Australia CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer Jan Gardberg said, “The IKEA Australia Clean Energy Transformation Project will help us achieve three goals in our sustainability agenda including being powered by 100 per cent clean energy transitioning our delivery fleet to 100 per cent zero-emissions, inspiring our customers in joining a clean energy movement.

“We are thrilled that this project will create new opportunities for job creation, innovation, economic growth and reduced energy costs.

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“Our ambition is to be the first mover and inspire other IKEA stores to install larger solar installations, batteries and digital solutions. Planet Ark Power’s eleXsys energy management system will support the balancing of the electricity grid not just on stores in Australia, but across the IKEA network around the world.”

Planet Ark Power’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Ruddick said the inclusion of Planet Ark Power’s unique eleXsys energy management system is the critical link that makes the IKEA, grid-connected microgrid project so innovative and world leading.

“Our eleXsys technology solution functions to ensure certainty of revenue streams from the export of surplus solar energy and grid stability services into the grid without the risk of curtailment by electricity network operators.”

“We are particularly proud to contribute to the IKEA journey to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy at their Adelaide site while also helping SA Power Networks provide more secure, clean energy to the broader South Australian community.”

SA Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the project received $1.95 million in funding through the State Government’s Renewable Technology Fund

“[The project] will combine solar power and battery with Schneider’s microgrid management systems and Planet Ark Power’s voltage management system.

“These together allow IKEA to help SA Power Networks to manage the local network to improve the quality of power to nearby homes and businesses.

“The project will let IKEA significantly reduce its carbon footprint and make it easier for other companies to adopt low carbon technologies, and will combine innovative grid integration technology with 1.2MW of rooftop solar photovoltaics and a 3MWh (3.4MWh) CATL battery and is a significant project for the state.

“We’re pleased to work with industry and show how large commercial facilities like IKEA can help power our state.”