Homeowners in the United Kingdom will be able to buy residential solar panels at their local IKEA store.
The Swedish flat-pack furniture giant partnered with China’s Hanergy to sell and install the solar panels. The store in Southampton was the first to offer the panels, and will roll out to the rest of the 17 stores in Britain over the next several months.
A standard, all-black 3.36 kilowatt system for a semi-detached home will cost 5,700 British pounds ($9,200) and will include an in-store consultation and design service as well as installation, maintenance and energy monitoring service.
IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard told The Associated Press that falling solar panel prices made it feasible to sell solar panels in the stores. Howard said the average homeowner will pay off the investment in about seven years.
In the U.S. home retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s sell solar panels, as well as a variety of independent solar power integrators. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has installed solar panels at stores and distribution centers across the U.S.
IKEA has invested in renewable energy for its stores, installing more than a half million solar panels on the roofs of stores and factories. Along with wind turbines that generate energy in several European countries, IKEA says its electricity is worth €100 million of revenue per year.
IKEA chose Britain as its test market due to the government financial incentives and the relatively high electricity prices, Howard said.
Britain has the right combination of mid-level electricity prices and government-sponsored financial incentives that make investing in solar energy attractive to consumers. In Britain, homeowners can sell surplus electricity to the grid and the government offers financing so residents can buy a system with no out-of-pocket costs.