IKEA Australia launches pioneering clean energy storage project


IKEA Australia has announced the launch of a 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% renewable energy by 2025 and will generate low cost and 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.

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Stage one of the project will see 1.2MW of solar capacity installed onsite on the rooftop of IKEA Adelaide, coupled with a 3.4MWh onsite battery, managed by Planet Ark Power’s digital platform – eleXsys energy management system. The owner and operator of the microgrid, Epic Energy, will provide over 70% 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.

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% of 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, 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.

Jan Gardberg, CEO and chief sustainability officer for IKEA Australia said that the project will help it achieve three goals:

  • being powered by 100% clean energy,
  • transitioning our delivery fleet to 100% zero-emissions and
  • inspiring our customers in joining a clean energy movement.

“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,” Gardberg added.

Epic Energy’s chief executive officer Clive D’ Cruz said he, “believes this project — and decentralised generation more broadly — sets the foundation for a sustainable new energy model for Australia, that will play an important role in Australia’s energy mix over the coming years.”

Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, added: “The project, the first of its kind in Australia, received $1.95 million in funding through the State Government’s Renewable Technology Fund and will combine solar power and battery with Schneider’s microgrid management systems and Planet Ark Power’s voltage management system.”

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

Originally published on renewableenergyworld.com