IKEA Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, is now selling solar panels in Britain through a new partnership with global solar giant Hanergy.
Hanergy now offers British IKEA shoppers in-store consultation and design service and expert installation, maintenance, and ongoing energy monitoring. Consumers in the UK can now purchase a standard 3.36kW photovoltaic (PV) system for a semi-detached home for £5700 (about $9,100 USD). A home solar system has a 14 percent return, which allows consumers to recoup the initial cost of the system in about seven years, according to IKEA.
Results from IKEA shopper surveys on sustainable living in the UK indicate that only 6 percent of homeowners had already made the switch to solar panels and nearly two thirds saying they were put off by the cost. Results of the survey also revealed such concerns as the “ugly” appearance of solar panels and confusion about whether there is enough sunshine in the UK to power them. Shoppers also drastically underestimated the savings: 29 percent believed they would only save up to £100 (about $160 USD), whereas the true figure is more than £700 (about $1120 USD) per year, according to IKEA.
IKEA has a long history of developing and promoting affordable products and solutions that help its customers save energy, reduce or sort waste, use less or recycle water. It now seeks to produce more renewable energy than is consumed throughout its buildings and operations. More than 500,000 solar panels have already been installed on the roofs of its own stores, and 120 of its stores and warehouses across the world will have solar panels. IKEA also has wind farms in six countries, according to IKEA.
The initiative kicked off last week at IKEA’s Southampton store and will be rolled out in all 17 IKEA stores across the UK within the next 10 months. The stores will showcase the financial benefits of home solar panel systems and enable customers to touch and feel the equipment themselves.