Advanced Engineering Provides Custom Racking Solution to Help IKEA’s Renewable Energy Efforts

The Project

SunLink Roof Mount on IKEAWith more than 330 retail stores in 40 countries, IKEA has earned a position not only as a retail leader, but also as a trailblazer in global sustainability. The Swedish company is committed to minimizing its impacts on the environment, and as a result has adopted a comprehensive approach to sustainable development. These efforts have included the rollout of photovoltaic systems atop many of its stores. In California alone, nearly 90 percent of IKEA locations will use solar electricity by the end of 2011.

In October 2010, IKEA retained Gloria Solar to install solar systems on store roofs throughout California. Gloria Solar in turn selected SunLink to supply the mounting solution for six of those stores including: Costa Mesa, Covina, East Palo Alto, Emeryville, San Diego and West Sacramento.

The Challenge

The challenge for SunLink’s engineering team was to design commercial roof mount systems that maximized energy production while adhering to very strict loading limitations and avoiding roof obstructions such as skylights and ventilation systems.

Maximizing module exposure required puzzling together several smaller arrays. However, because smaller sub-arrays require higher pounds-per-square-foot (PSF) to anchor down the panel assemblies, that approach made it difficult to adhere to the stringent PSF specifications provided by Gloria Solar’s Structural Engineer of Record. SunLink engineers discussed, sketched, and tested several different options before identifying the best, most efficient solution.

The Solution

SunLink determined that satisfying the roof limitations while maximizing the module count would require a hybrid racking system— part ballasted and part connected.

To accommodate load limitations however, it was critical that the connection points of the system align with a complex layout of roof structural support beams. The solution: a custom flashable post anchor (FPA) that attached to the system via adjustable wire leash. This allowed the necessary flexibility for the FPAs to land on roof structural beams while still adequately anchoring the system.

SunLink finalized its designs, fabricated and shipped the custom material, and served as a resource for the integrators throughout the entire installation process.

Together, Making a Difference

SunLink’s advanced engineering and custom racking solution greatly contributed to IKEA’s renewable efforts within California, and has helped the retail giant in its attempt to reduce its carbon footprint and further preserve the environment in which we live.

“We are excited about this investment in using renewable energy, reducing our carbon footprint, and improving the lives of many people,” said Mark Gasper, U.S. Energy Manager for IKEA. “We also are very pleased with the high quality, professional work SunLink provided IKEA on many of our solar installations.”

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