Update: Ikea winds up Hanergy distribution deal

One of the bright points in Hanergy’s business activities was its agreement with Ikea that allowed for its modules to be distributed at the Swedish giant’s stores. This has now come to an end with Ikea confirming that it was ending the agreement.

Ikea has confirmed with pv magazine that it did not renew its contract with Hanergy UK, when it expired on November 1. The statement from Ikea reads in part:

"Ikea Group aims to make residential solar available and affordable for the many people to live a more sustainable life at home. Based on the successful roll out and to ensure Ikea Group has a growth plan in place for the future, we have evaluated our business model, starting in the UK. A new business model has been decided upon, which includes the decision not to renew the contract with Hanergy Solar UK."

The Hanergy Thin Film modules distributed at Hanergy stores were from its German Solibro acquisition. Solibro’s CIGS technology was developed in Sweden and was the most mature of the Hanergy fleet.

Recent reports have been that Hanergy’s Solibro operations, in Thalheim in Germany’s east, has been significantly scaled back. In October an industry insider confirmed to pv magazine that Solibro had been running at only a fraction of its nameplate capacity “for some months.”

As doubts had continued to mount about Hanergy Thin Film, its sales to privately held parent company Hanergy and the lack of successful project execution, the Ikea deal stood as somewhat of an anomaly.

Charles Yonts is the head of sustainable research at CLSA. He has followed Hanergy’s fortunes since 2011 and says that the Ikea deal was one of the many mysteries surrounding the firm’s activities.

“Once Solibro was bought [by Hanergy in 2012] the deal made more sense,” explains Yonts. “A Swede has got to help a Swede and I have heard that the Solibro modules are good. In the UK the Ikea deal is to sell the modules at GBP1.60/W (US$2.47/W) all in, which if the panels cost $1/W or more to produce then it is a pretty tricky proposition.”

Hanergy had distributed modules to customers under the Ikea deal to 35 stores in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.