Swedish homefurnishing giant Ikea has announced that it will begin selling solar modules at its Belgian stores from the end of January next year.
Catherine Bendayan, the CEO of Ikea Belgium, said that the country was chosen due to its high electricity prices and the large number of homeowners. U.K. solar company Solarcentury will partner Ikea into the Belgian market, with Ikea being responsible for selling the panels online and at the stores and the British company taking care of PV system installation and management.
Ikea claims that the investment for a residential PV system can be paid off in six years in the Brussels metropolitan region, in seven years in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, and in 10 years in the Flemish-speaking region of Flanders.
Ikea first began selling solar panels provided by the Chinese thin-film module maker Hanergy in its 18 U.K. stores in 2013. The supply deal with the Chinese company, however, was ended in late 2015, but the Swedish retailer confirmed in March of last year it was planning to expand its solar module offer to Netherlands and Switzerland by the end of the first half of 2016. At the time, the company said the trial was a success, with customers responding well to the combination of simplicity, transparency and the ability to produce their own renewable energy at an affordable price.
Ikea, which does not intend to sell self-branded modules, mounting systems and inverters, is now working with different solar component suppliers and installers in different markets, tendering for services and products on a market-by-market basis.
Ikea is also selling residential solar from its web portal. In 2015, Ikea reported 1.9 billion visits to its global web platforms.
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