IKEA is bringing its considerable might to the solar industry by introducing solar panels into its 17 British stores over the next ten months.
The move marks the first time the worlds largest furniture retailer has offered solar panels on a wide scale, after seeing its pilot scheme at the IKEA store at Lakeside, Essex (just east of London) sell almost one PV system a day.
Customers must spend a minimum of 6,800 for 18 panels, which are thin-film PV panels made by Chinas Hanergy Holding Group Ltd. An IKEA case study shows that homeowners who invest in this initial outlay will break even within approximately seven years.
"We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and we hope working with Hanergy to make solar panels affordable and easily available helps them do just that," said IKEAs head of sustainability in the U.K. and Ireland, Joanna Yarrow.
Following an in-store consultation, customers will receive a package that includes installation and maintenance of the German-made panels.
The move is a further step by IKEA towards a greener image. The Swedish company has set its own ambitious clean energy target to source at least 70% of the energy it needs from solar and wind power by 2015, and all of it by 2020.
The company has fitted solar panels on its factories, warehouses and stores, and already owns a number of wind farms across Europe.