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IKEA Australia’s plan to transform stores into clean energy power stations

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IKEA Australia yesterday announced the launch of Australia-first clean energy storage initiative to power its Adelaide store, and provide a surplus of green energy to the South Australian power grid.

The multinational furniture chain has partnered with Queensland’s Planet Ark Power to help meet their ambitious zero net emissions target by 2030. The project will also be run in conjunction with the South Australian Government, SA Power Networks and Epic Energy. 

“IKEA Australia is excited to be working with such inspirational partners to help shift the dial on clean energy production in Australia,” said Jan Gardberg, CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA Australia.

Ms Gardberg also outlined three major sustainability goals for the company:

  • being powered by 100% clean energy,  
  • transitioning our delivery fleet to 100% 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,” she said.

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 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,” said Planet Ark Power’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Ruddick.

“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.”

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% 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 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’s renewable energy plan has been praised by South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan who described it as “a significant project for the state.”

“The project will let IKEA significantly reduce its carbon footprint and make it easier for other companies to adopt low carbon technologies,” he said.

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

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Ellie Dudley
Ellie Dudley is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the startup space and current affairs reporting. She has a specific interest in foreign investment and the Australian economy.