The Bulletin

Ikea gets into the solar business

Posting in Energy

Ikea plans to sell solar panels at its U.K. big-box stores, a move aimed at meeting customer demand for the government subsidized energy source.

The Swedish retailer, known for its signature flat-pack furniture and meatballs, said the decision follows a successful pilot project at its Lakeside store east of London, reported The Guardian. The Lakeside location sells one solar photovoltaic system almost every day.

The solar panel packages will be available in 17 U.K. stores within 10 months.

The company will sell solar panels made by Hanergy Solar Group, the Chinese company that purchased thin-film solar panel maker MiaSolé last year. Ikea will sell 3.36-kilowatt photovoltaic systems for £5,700 ($9,200). Hanergy Solar UK will offer full solar installation services, Ikea says.

The U.K. government's renewable energy subsidies, known as feed-in tariffs, pay people for generating their own electricity using solar or wind technology. According to an Ikea case study of a 3.3 kW system, U,K. customers who install solar panels can earn up to £800 ($1,294)  tax-free a year.

In recent years, Ikea has started to sell more energy-efficient and sustainable goods such as LED lighting. And the company has instituted aggressive sustainability goals for its retail stores.

Ikea Group announced plans in October 2012 to invest $1.8 billion in solar and wind installations, as part of its larger ambition to become energy independent by 2020. In January, the company said it planned to double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion before the end of the decade.

— By on September 30, 2013, 8:29 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure