Swedish furniture giant IKEA is now selling solar panels at its stores in the UK as part of the company’s renewable energy ambitions.
For about $9,200 each, customers at IKEA’s UK branches can buy solar panels that are advertised as capable of returning consumer investments.
According to the company, homeowners who buy IKEA solar panels see their investment returned in about seven years.
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"We know that our customers want to life more sustainable ...We want to make a greener, more sustainable way of life attractive and easy for as many people as possible," Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for IKEA UK and, Ireland said in a statement.
To make things less complicated for prospective buyers, the company is simplifying the process of assembly, with staff advising consumers on how and where to install in their homes. One tool relied on is Google Maps to determine how many solar panels they need for their location and what the potential savings will be. The company also arranges installation and provides service programs.
IKEA's move comes a year after feed-in tariffs paid to British panel owners were slashed from 69 cents per kilowatt to their current 23 cents.
The British Solar Trade Association says the solar market is currently installing about 100,000 solar systems per year -- far below the projected 300,000.
IKEA chose the UK as a test market because the government sponsors incentives for solar energy, letting private solar panel owners sell back surplus electricity. The company aims to launch the panels in other countries eventually.
By the end of 2012, IKEA had installed 250,000 solar panels on its own buildings and had 83 wind turbines in operation. It has also set a goal to become a 100% sustainable company by 2020.
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.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com