Wednesday, December 7, 2011

IKEA goes solar in Duke Energy's backyard

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 1:30 PM

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that Charlotte's IKEA plans to cover its roof in solar panels:

The plan is part of IKEA's program to add solar panels to nine stores and one distribution center in the southern U.S. The Charlotte store, which opened in 2009, will support 4,214 solar panels covering 126,500 square feet on its roof.

Read the rest of this article, by Ely Portillo, here.

That got me wondering about IKEA in general, so I started poking around the web.

Mayor Pat at the IKEA grand opening on Feb. 18, 2009

Remember when IKEA was brand new in Charlotte, back in February 2009 when I was a lowly Creative Loafing intern? Here's an excerpt:

I live-tweeted the event, including Mayor McCrory's quote of the day, "Charlotte's stimulus package is yellow and blue." He said his number one goal is job creation, called the devoted fans who camped at the store's entrance, "Crazy," and said he hoped they enjoyed their free chair. (He meant the "crazy" part in the most loving way possible, of course; bless our freak hearts.)

Read the rest of this trip down memory lane here. I even took pictures! Bless my freak heart.

I kept poking around and found that IKEA's online "News Room" — something we journalists often seek out when we start sniffing around a company — has a category called "Sustainability News." Apparently the company is big into generating its own power everywhere it have a presence, instead of sucking power off the local grid. To that I say, go IKEA. Be the change.

Now, I admit: I'm not a shopper, so I haven't paid a damn bit of attention to IKEA since it opened. (Sorry, IKEA.) But the company has my attention with this "Sustainability News" thing it's got goin' on.

I also can't help but get a bit giggly about IKEA's solar project in Duke Energy's backyard. You know, the giant energy company that says sustainable energy is a good idea in theory, but in practice coal and nuclear are the way to go. The company that recently got schooled by one of its namesakes, Duke University.

As CL's John Grooms wrote earlier this week:

The southern energy behemoth has spent much time lately telling everyone that the region has no viable alternatives to the status quo of coal-fired plants and nuclear reactors. An extensive study, conducted by the Nicholas Institute at Duke University and the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, says that’s a load of bull. Not in those precise terms, of course, but in so many words.

Of course, this isn't the first time Duke Energy's been schooled lately. A couple months ago, Jim Rogers, the CEO, was testifying before the state's Utilities Commission with his Progress Energy cohort, CEO Bill Johnson, about a merger deal when the two started yammering on about how North Carolina wasn't suitable for solar or wind energy. This, just before Rogers mentioned the home he's building in the mountains and how he doesn't want to look at windmills. Fortunately, one of the commissioners quickly corrected them since it's well known that North Carolina's shores are perfect for wind power. (I shit you not; I live-tweeted it!)

Read this: Costal Wind: Energy for North Carolina's Future, a study the University of North Carolina as presented to the state General Assembly, dated June 2009.

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