IKEA about to harness more solar energy using ABB smart inverters

ABB’s next generation smart inverters will provide higher flexibility and energy yields from IKEA’s 1 MW rooftop PV system. (Photo: ABB Solar)
ABB’s next generation smart inverters will provide higher flexibility and energy yields from IKEA’s 1 MW rooftop PV system. (Photo: ABB Solar)

ABB has provided the Swedish retailer IKEA with 20 of its TRIO-50 solar inverters to power a rooftop solar system on its flagship store in Singapore, located in the eastern suburb of Tampines. The system is expected to generate 1.3 GWh every year.

In March 2017 IKEA began to install solar modules on its flagship store in Singapore. Last Decemer the system went live. To guarantee the maximal energy yield, the 1‑MW‑power‑plant is equipped with smart inverterters by ABB.

ABB won the order through its customer Phoenix Solar, in the first quarter of 2017. With this rooftop system, IKEA expects to trim an estimated $ 2.4 million from the store’s electrical bills over the next ten years.

Mark Argar, Phoenix Solar Senior Vice President Asia-Pacific, said: "We are proud to partner with ABB to provide IKEA with top-class solar PV systems supporting the company’s move towards clean energy. We are committed to advancing wider adoption of solar power in Asia and doing so requires teaming up with technology pioneers like ABB that have the knowledge and skills to do quality installations.”

“We strive to help meet growing energy demand around the world while minimizing environmental impact and creating value for our customers,” said Tarak Mehta, president of ABB’s Electrification Products division. “This project is one such example where ABB’s flexible and innovative solar power technologies will allow IKEA to commit to their energy efficiency and sustainability targets. Integration of renewables is an increasingly important element of the world’s energy revolution and ABB’s Next Level strategy.”

Designed to combine the performance and price competitiveness of a central inverter with the portability and flexibility of a string inverter, the TRIO-50 will see further deployment on other IKEA roofs in South East Asia. In Malaysia, 500 kW of the TRIO-50 will power the IPC Shopping Center, South East Asia’s first shopping mall anchored by IKEA. In Thailand, the upcoming IKEA store at Bangyai, near Bangkok will feature 1.5 megawatts of the TRIO-50 on its rooftop carport.

Like IKEA, the rest of the corporate sector is poised to build more rooftop solar plants in the coming few years owing to the rapidly increasing economic viability of solar power. According to GTM Research, commercial rooftop installation costs have declined almost 30 percent in the past five years driven largely by falling solar panel costs. Solar has allowed corporate solar customers like IKEA to achieve financial and operational savings in addition to carbon footprint goals.

Outside the corporate sector, governments in South East Asia have also embraced renewable initiatives, such as Singapore’s Economic Development Board’s Solarnova projects, Thailand’s Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), and Malaysia’s Sustainable Energy Authority (SEDA) policies, laying the foundation for sunnier days ahead in the region.

ABB Solar / Philipp Kronsbein

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