When you think Ikea, you think of the famous blue and yellow store and the hours spent yelling at the instructions when assembling their furniture. However, the Swedish retailer may soon be known for its green initiative as the company recently announced a new program to sell solar panels in its U.K. stores.
IKEA Corp. has long been known to adopt green technologies in its stores, but the furniture giant announced plans to start selling photovoltaic (PV) systems to U.K. customers within the next ten months. The solar panel package, made by China’s Hanergy Holding Group Ltd, consists of 18 panels and would cost around £5,700 (or $9,200). The company stated that the PV solar panel package, which includes delivery and installation, would be available in all 17 of its British stores with Southampton being the first store to offer it.
The announcement follows a recent drop in prices due to the overproduction of photovoltaic cells, which are primarily manufactured in China. According to BBC, Chinese firms have emerged as key players in the solar power sector, but the weak demand has resulted in the country’s top 10 solar panel makers amassing a total of $16.3 billion in debt. Ikea’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Steve Howard stated that the drop in prices has made it a suitable time for Ikea to invest in such technology.
The solar panel packages are expected to yield $1,200 in subsidies and energy saving annually, which would mean that customers would break even within approximately seven years. Although the solar panel packages are accompanied with a hefty price tag, Ikea’s new program coud attract many buyers who are drawn to the accessibility of green technology in its stores.
The U.K. stores are being considered as “test sites” for the solar panel packages, but Ikea has yet to announce any official timeline for the product’s availability in the U.S.