Today, Ikea customers in Southampton, England, can stroll into the big blue and yellow store and plunk down $9,200 for a solar panel array for their semi-detached home. Ikea, which has been installing industrial-size solar arrays on its store roofs for years, has just started to roll out home solar systems for consumers in the UK.
Ikea's move to sell solar panels was anticipated years ago with the company formally committing to green technologies. Southampton is the first store to offer the panels, made by Hanergy Solar UK, but more stores in Britain will be jumping onboard.
Steve Howard, Ikea's chief sustainability officer, told the Associated Press, "In the past few years the prices on solar panels have dropped, so it's a really good price now. It's the right time to go for the consumers." Howard also says Ikea plans to eventually sell the panels in other countries.
When you think of Ikea, you think of giant stores and Swedish-design-aesthetic furniture. Then, you think of sitting on the floor in a crying heap of humanity as you futiley attempt to put that furniture together. There will be no such worries with the solar panel systems. The purchase price includes installation, maintenance, and energy-monitoring.
The solar panels may cost considerably more than the average bed or coffee table sold at Ikea, but the ease of just stepping into a store and making the purchase could attract buyers who weren't previously ready to make the solar leap. The only questions now is if they'll be available in a birch-veneer finish.