Ikea’s New Haven Store Gets Greener With New Fuel Cell


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NEW HAVEN >> Swedish retailer Ikea is known for selling affordable home furnishings, but it could just as easily be known for its commitment to renewable energy.


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A little less than five years after Ikea began using a solar array on its roof, the 311,000-square-foot store on Sargent Drive has begun using a fuel cell to meet more of its electricity needs. The 250-kilowatt fuel cell produces enough electricity to run 163 homes annually, Ikea officials said Monday as the new unit was dedicated by the flipping of a ceremonial lightswitch by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.


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“Plugging in this fuel cell system is an exciting milestone that complements our existing rooftop solar array,” said Christof Stein, the manager of Ikea’s New Haven location. Between the solar array on the store’s roof and the fuel cell, a majority of electricity the store needs to operate will be generated on site, Stein said.


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Ikea is using fuel cells to run five of its other stores, but the New Haven location is the first outside California to operate with the technology. Stein said the company has made $2 billion worth of investments in renewable energy.

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Ikea’s commitment to renewable energy goes well beyond its New Haven store and those in California that have fuel cells, according to Stein. The company owns two wind farms, has integrated geothermal energy projects at two stores and has electric vehicle charging locations at 14 of its 42 stores in the United States, he said.


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Malloy spoke of a “California-Connecticut connection” in the two states’ commitment to cleaner energy sources.


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“Somebody has to lead and California ... has clearly led,” he said. “California has some of the toughest emission standards in the nation. Right behind them is Connecticut.”


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The fuel cell Ikea is using at its New Haven store was produced by Bloom Energy, which has installed more than two-dozen fuel cells for customers in Connecticut since 2013, said Bill Kurtz, the company’s chief commercial officer. The first fuel cell that the Sunnyvale, California, company installed was at Macy’s Logistics in Cheshire, which serves the department store chain’s locations in Connecticut as well as its online business.


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“They have a great incentive policy and as a result, we’ve had good involvement with customers in the state,” Kurtz said.


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Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.


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Source : http://www.nhregister.com/business/20170320/ikeas-new-haven-store-gets-greener-with-new-fuel-cell

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