In a few short months, flat-packed solar panels will be sold at all 17 IKEA stores in the United Kingdom, and if the panels prove to be a hot seller, they could even find their way into American stores soon. A pilot program is already up and running and began in July in IKEA’s Lakeside store in the U.K. where, according to IKEA, a solar panel system is now sold almost every day.
You can already buy solar panels from a varity of big box stores here in the US, but IKEA has a very different target audience. While Home Depot is a place for serious DIY types, IKEA offers inexpensive, space saving, home furnishings for weekend warriors with a basic toolbox but few skills. It seems likely that IKEA is betting that their customers will be attracted to solar panels based on the idea of energy savings and, maybe, the popularly of “getting off the grid” and energy saving status symbols like driving a Prius. Just imagine driving your Prius down to the Whole Foods and then back to your solar powered, IKEA-furnished home. For some that would be pure bliss.
Unlike most IKEA products though, the installation of the roof top solar panels will not be something the typical customer can handle. Full installation is currentlyoffered in collaboration with Chinese energy giant Hanergy. There will be a nine step installation process, a design system simulation for your home, and a fully managed personalized web portal for IKEA solar panel buyers all through Hanergy. All told, these solar panel systems could cost buyers as little as $10,000 from IKEA, and the company could help proliferate solar panels throughout the UK, and perhaps eventually America too.
Could IKEA prove to be an important tipping point for the adoption of solar panels in the UK and America? It certainly seems like the company has the potential to do just that, bringing clean energy to a wider audience.
Source: Washington Post
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison