Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA will start selling residential solar panels at its stores in Britain, the first step in its plan to bring renewable energy to the mainstream market worldwide.
The company started selling solar panels made by China’s Hanergy in its store in Southampton on Monday. It will sell them in the rest of Britain in coming months, it said.
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.
"In the past few years the prices on solar panels have dropped, so it’s a really good price now," IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard told The Associated Press. "It’s the right time to go for the consumers."
The solar panel investment will be paid off in about seven years for an average home owner in Britain, Howard said.
"If you are going to be in your house that long, your energy will be free after seven years," he said.
Some retailers in the U.S., including the Home Depot and Lowe’s, already sell solar panels. But in other parts of the world, consumers often have to research a myriad specialist firms before making a purchase. [x]