What IKEA can teach us about the future of solar and energy efficiency in Texas

The big box furnishings retailer is going 100% renewable by 2020. A new solar-powered store near Dallas is the latest step.


By 2020, IKEA aims to be completely energy independent. Over 90% of its United States locations already have at least some rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, including a brand new 181,500 square foot, 1.25MW array on top of IKEA Grand Prairie. This is the company’s fourth rooftop solar installation in Texas.

The flat-pack furniture retailer isn’t alone: other major corporations with commercial buildings in north Texas have ramped up their interest in solar PV. In July, Toyota completed its new North American headquarters in Plano. The facility features an 8.79 MW array comprised of over 20,000 solar panels. FedEx’s solar installation at its Hutchins location features a smaller but still impressive 2MW array. In 2014, Kohl’s installed six solar tree structures outside its Dallas office to serve as shaded parking and electric vehicle charging stations.

Corporate interest in solar investments – and solar-friendly building designs – is projected to intensify further in the coming years. Major retailers like IKEA and Target are far from alone. Clients of all kinds – from big box chains to commercial developers to smaller enterprises – are looking to architects and engineers for design guidance as they develop and implement their renewable energy goals. A 2016 survey found that 72% of companies headquartered in the United States planned to pursue additional renewable energy sources in the coming years. For a clear majority of these companies, the most attractive option on the horizon is solar.

For architecture and engineering firms looking to deliver on renewable energy goals for their clients, the time has come to better understand solar PV, its potential applications, and how this new technology can be incorporated into their design process.


Interested in adding solar PV knowledge to your list of qualifications? Register for our November 7th Dallas training here or click here to learn more about STEP into the Sun, our national training program for design professionals. This program is powered by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, a project to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems around the country.