The largest owner of IKEA furniture stores is investing $272m in 160MW of solar projects in Russia.

Netherlands-based Ingka Group, which controls 315 of 360 IKEA stores globally under a franchising system, is buying a 49% stake in eight PV projects from Moscow-based developer Solar Systems. It marks the first large-scale foreign investment in Russian renewables by a non-utility company, Ingka says.

The 160MW of solar power from the eight solar parks will provide enough electricity to power all 17 Ikea stories in Russia, as well as the 14 Ikea-owned MEGA shopping centres in the country.

Despite being the largest country in the world, Russia had only installed 1.43GW of solar energy and 945MW of wind power by the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Ingka is no stranger to renewable energy, having invested €2.5bn in more than 1.7GW of wind and solar power across 14 countries since 2009, and it now generates 132% more clean energy than it uses.

Ikea aims to be climate-positive by 2030, in other words reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than its entire value chain emits.

“We are delighted to enter the renewable energy market in Russia with this investment and it represents an important step for Ingka Investments. We are looking forward to working with Solar Systems and enabling renewable electricity consumption for IKEA Retail, Ingka Centres operations, as well as the IKEA value chain to reduce our climate footprint in Russia,” said Ingka Investments managing director Krister Mattsson.

The agreement with Solar Systems is now subject to approval from the Russian competition authority, FAS.