Ikea Solar Panels, Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.’s solar subsidies.
The retailer has already gone green to power its own stores, with the goal of using renewables to produce 100 percent of its energy needs by 2020. Ikea says it will begin offering the photovoltaic (PV) solar panel packages – which include installation – at all 17 of its British stores within the next 10 months.
The Guardian writes:
“[Ikea’s] offer of panels made by China’s Hanergy Holding Group Ltd, a power producer and manufacturer of thin-film PV panels, involves a minimum spend of £5,700 [$9,200], for which customers get 18 panels, which should break even within roughly seven years.
” ‘We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and we hope working with Hanergy to make solar panels affordable and easily available helps them do just that,’ said Joanna Yarrow, Ikea’s head of sustainability in the UK and Ireland.”
The Wall Street Journal quotes Steve Howard, Ikea’s sustainability chief, as saying the company aims to make the initiative into “a real business” even though the margins will be slim compared with other products sold by the retailer.
“In recent years, the company has aggressively pushed a portfolio of products intended to curb energy consumption, including LED bulbs, ultra efficient appliances and products that conserve water. Sustainability plays a massive role in IKEA’s marketing efforts.
“Solar panels, however, are a pricey solution for customers, even though IKEA claims it can offer them cheaper than most competitors due to its scale and willingness to shoulder low margins.”
Solar panels have come down in price in recent months because China, where the vast majority of the world’s photovoltaic cells are produced, has suffered a glut due to overproduction.