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IKEA Baltimore Revs Up Onsite Clean Energy Generation with Maryland Solar Canopy Grant

By Abigail Antonini, Energy Program Manager

New solar parking canopies supported by a Maryland Energy Administration grant sit next to the rooftop solar array at the IKEA Baltimore location photo credit: IKEA Baltimore

When most people think of IKEA they think ready-to-assemble furniture, but many people may not know about the company’s global commitment to improving the environment. In addition to adoption of circular design (i.e., only using renewable and recycled materials for products), IKEA has aggressive carbon footprint reduction plans to become climate positive by 2030. IKEA’s sustainability strategy identifies on-site renewable energy generation and new installations. 

IKEA was awarded a Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant of $200,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration to help fund the installation of a 1,575kW solar canopy above their Baltimore store parking lot. Along with the solar canopy installation, IKEA also installed four Level 2 EV chargers, a requirement for all solar canopy projects receiving an award from MEA. The canopy is already paying off, saving this IKEA location 57% off their energy bill between September – December 2020.  

“At IKEA, we aim to have a positive impact on people and the planet, which is why sustainability is embedded in every part of our business,” explained Jennifer Keesson, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA Retail U.S. “This addition of eight solar car parks is the latest in a series of investments IKEA has made in renewable energy, and marks a significant step forward in our goals to be climate positive,” concluded Kesson. 

The IKEA in Baltimore had previously installed an additional 500kW rooftop array in 2012 making the location have a total of 2,075kW. “Installation of solar canopies over existing parking lots provides a dual use for the land: parking and energy generation,” began Dr. Mary Beth Tung, MEA Director. “Developing solar generation on parking infrastructure reduces energy losses in the transmission lines, and reduces the need to develop solar on undeveloped or agricultural land.”  

Since 2014, the MEA Solar Canopy Program has added 20,525 kW of solar generation to the state, which is about 26,000,000 kWh of annual energy generation or enough energy to power more than 2,100 Maryland homes.

Over the life of this program,  86 EV chargers have also been installed throughout the state. All current MEA funded Solar Canopy Projects require at least four Level 2 or Level 3 EV chargers to be installed either in, or adjacent to the solar canopy. MEA knows that expanding our EV charging options is critical for our residents and visitors. Maryland ranked fourth in the nation for the state’s action to expand transportation electrification use. The Solar Canopy Program is funded by the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, click here to learn more about this program.