The Swedish housewares retailer famous for flat-packing trendy affordable furnishings wants to make trendy solar energy more accessible and affordable to the masses.
Ikea will sell systems with a minimum size of 3.36 kilowatts, or 18 panels, for 5,700 pounds ($9,200). That’s enough energy for a semidetached house with a south facing roof to generate $1,200 a year in subsidies and energy savings, which would enable the homeowner to recoup the expense of the systems in about seven years, according to a release from the retailer.
The cost includes in-store consultation, installation and maintenance. All of the panels are made by China’s Hanergy Holdings, but in a German manufacturing plant.
“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,” Joanna Yarrow, Ikea’s Head of Sustainability in the UK and Ireland, told The Guardian.
An Ikea spokesperson told ABC News that the United Kingdom rollout of the program is a pilot and that the retailer will evaluate its success before considering implementing solar sales in its stores in other countries.
All 17 of the British stores will carry solar within the next 10 months, according to the release. The program is an expansion of an earlier pilot program in Lakewood, a suburb of London, where Ikea sells a solar system nearly every day.
In addition to offering competitive in-store pricing for solar, Ikea also offers financing programs to help homeowners who don’t have the cash to go solar.
The plan to begin selling solar panels almost as if they were flat screen televisions fits into Ikea’s greater green vision for the company’s sustainable future. Ikea has pledged to get all of the energy it uses from renewable sources by the year 2020. That dramatic 100 percent net-zero goal is unique in the corporate world.
But Ikea has now gone beyond greening its own stores and is now helping its customers green their homes.
"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,” Steve Howard, the company’s sustainability chief, told The Wall Street Journal.