Ikea, Hanergy cooperate on solar power generation project
Updated: 2013-07-05 07:21
By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Swedish home furniture giant Ikea Group is cooperating with Chinese solar company Hanergy Holdings Group Co Ltd on a grid-connected solar power generation project for all of the Ikea stores in China as well as Ikea's selected suppliers.
The partnership will also expand to the global market. Starting this month, Hanergy will sell solar power generation equipment to Ikea's customers in the United Kingdom.
According to Ikea, the thin-film photovoltaic panels already installed on the rooftops of five Ikea stores in Beijing, Shenzhen, Dalian, Nanjing and Shenyang, once put into operation, will provide 10 to 15 percent of all the electricity needed to run the stores.
The move is part of Ikea's goal to promote energy efficiency and emissions reduction, said Angela Zhu, retail manager of Ikea China. "The project will help achieve our target of using 100 percent renewable energy to power our buildings."
The solar panels will soon be installed in Ikea's 15 stores in China, including the company's distribution center.
And from the second half of the year, more than 60 selected suppliers among Ikea's 350 global sourcing partners in China will also start to install Hanergy's photovoltaic panels on their buildings.
"The investment in panels for a single existing store will reach 3 to 5 million yuan ($485,000-$808,000), while it will cost more for new stores as we will design more space for more solar panels," said Liu Min, executive president of Hanergy Holding Group, the world's largest thin-film photovoltaic solar panel manufacturer.
For instance, in the Ikea Beijing store, its rooftop installations have an installed capacity of 416.24 kW, generating about 452,000 kWh every year, which translates into an annual reduction of carbon dioxide emission by about 426 tons.
The store is the first business facility in Beijing to have been granted grid access for its rooftop solar power generation installations by the Beijing Electric Power Co.
"And if an Ikea supplier installs the solar energy equipment, then it will generate 20 to 30 times more than the energy generated by a single Ikea store," said Liu. "With the partnership with Ikea and its suppliers, we hope that, in the context of the national policy encouraging grid-connected distributed generation, Hanergy will help more companies and customers to gain the advantage of thin-film solar energy in building integrated photovoltaic projects and promote the wide application of renewable energy."
"China is now in a special stage of its development where it faces both urgent challenges and opportunities for rebalancing its economic and social model," said Wu Changhua, the Greater China director of The Climate Group, an international non-profit organization advocating low-carbon solutions for China's business and local development.
"It's imperative to promote clean energy, energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and there's an urgent need for leading companies to play an exemplary and guiding role," he added.
Other than the thin-film photovoltaic solar panel installation project, Ikea also signed an agreement with Hanergy stating that from July 22, Ikea's stores in the UK will start to sell Hanergy's 3-5kW solar energy generation equipment for family use.
"Hanergy will be the first individual brand to appear in Ikea's stores globally, " said Zhu.
According to Jason Chow, head of Hanergy's global investment and sales operations, the company's solar energy equipment will be available in 18 Ikea stores in the UK this year and will be in more Ikea stores in 10 European countries and in North America next year.
"In the first stage, the equipment, which can help a family save electricity by 40 to 70 percent, will be provided by our manufacturing facilities in Germany," said Chow.
"We'll later introduce price-competitive made-in-China equipment into overseas markets through Ikea's stores."
(China Daily USA 07/05/2013 page17)