Ikea now offers fuel from meatballs — and the sun

Ikea now offers fuel from meatballs — and the sun
Photo by Tom Callan

First, Ikea fueled us with its Swedish meatballs — now the store is powering solar energy into the grid.

The Beard Street furniture giant fired up 1,104 solar panels atop its superstore on Wednesday, a move the home furnishings giant hailed as a green victory for the waterfront neighborhood — a product of its “Swedish heritage and respect for nature.”

“The initiative helps improve the environment and contributes to our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many,” said store manager Mike Baker.

At 19,000 square feet — about half a football field — the array is the largest in Brooklyn.

The energy produced by solar system is equivalent to the electricity burned by 20 homes annually, store officials said. And stealing energy from the sun rather than burning it in a power plant prevents 32 cars worth of emissions from polluting the air every year.

The panels collect solar radiation from the sun and convert it into electricity, once connected to Con Edison’s electrical grid. The utility giant certified the system this week.

The electricity that is produced does not power the massive store, but rather is pumped into the electric grid, slightly reducing the store’s ecological impact.

But store critics were underwhelmed.

“This will be a miniscule way to offset the tremendous amount of pollution created by the vehicles passing through Red Hook Park on the way to the store,” said John McGettrick, co-chairman of the Red Hook Civic Association.

Upon its opening in 2008, traffic in the area jumped from about 235 cars to 810 cars on a weekend — significantly more than the 32 cars that the solar array will offset.