IKEA’s love affair with solar extends deeper into Europe

IKEA has again shown itself to be a leader in retail innovation by announcing the sale of PV systems in its stores in The Netherlands.

IKEA has also outlined plans to expand PV sales to its stores in Switzerland and six other markets over the next 18 months. Additional stores in Utrecht (Netherlands) and Switzerland will offer PV systems for sale in November and December this year, respectively. IKEA started the initiative as a pilot project in the UK, where consumers were able to buy systems through in‑store financing.

System prices will start from €3,200, with an average price of €4,400 for a 2.5 kilowatt (kW) system. IKEA is also offering a 15% discount on solar PV systems for IKEA FAMILY members, which would bring the price of a 2.5kW system to just over €3,700. The solar PV systems are fitted with thin‑film modules from Hanergy.

Closer to home, IKEA has previously supported PV deployment by announcing plans to install a total of 3.9 megawatts (MW) of PV across stores and warehouse facilities along the East Coast of Australia. This includes a 990kW rooftop installation at Tempe, the largest rooftop PV project nationwide. In addition, all future IKEA stores in Australia will have solar PV systems installed on site.

The pro‑solar initiatives are all part of IKEA’s greater environmental policy, which aims to source resources and materials sustainably and in a manner which reduces their carbon footprint. IKEA has set the ambitious target of becoming 100% renewable by 2020, aiming to produce as much energy through wind and solar projects as they consume.

By installing and selling solar, IKEA is effectively telling the millions of customers that visit its stores every year that the technology has their stamp of approval. Toby Ferenczi, CEO of Hanergy Solar UK, put it best when stating: “Solar has never been quite so readily accessible to so many people. There are lots of players in the solar market but it is hard to know who to trust. IKEA has 42 million visitors each year. That is an opportunity to inform customers about solar and about the fact that it is one of the best financial investments a family can make as well as being great for the environment. The partnership of IKEA and Hanergy represents the turning point of solar going from niche, to ‘nice to have’, to becoming mainstream, just an everyday part of the home.”

IKEA has yet to announce plans to sell PV systems here on our shores or release details on whether the price point could be as competitive as those offered by other PV vendors. In any case, pro‑solar advocates have to be excited by the way IKEA is helping to make PV system purchasing as easy as buying other essential household goods.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

John Rodriguez