LONDON, Sept 30 IKEA, the world's
biggest furniture retailer, is to sell solar panels at its
British stores, the first time it has offered the devices and
marking an attempt to tap growth in the heavily subsidised green
The Sweden-based company, best known for cheap basics such
as its Billy bookcases and Ektorp sofas, plans to offer solar
panel packages at all of its 17 British stores within the next
It said the move follows a successful pilot project at its
Lakeside store to the east of London, which sells one
photovoltaic (PV) system almost every day.
Britain offers subsidies to encourage the takeup of PV
panels - which harness the power of sunlight and transform it
into electricity - in a bid to boost greener energy production
and help it meet legally-binding targets to cut carbon
A solar panel owner receives subsidies for generating
solar-sourced electricity as well as exporting excess power into
the grid. An average semi-detached house with a south-facing
roof would earn as much as 770 pounds ($1,200) a year through
subsidies and savings on energy bills, an IKEA case study
IKEA's offer of panels made by China's Hanergy Holding Group
Ltd, a power producer and manufacturer of thin-film PV panels,
involves a minimum spend of 5,700 pounds for which customers get
18 panels which should break even within roughly seven years.
"We know that our customers want to live more sustainably
and we hope working with Hanergy to make solar panels affordable
and easily available helps them do just that," said Joanna
Yarrow, IKEA's head of sustainability in the UK and Ireland.
Britain's solar market is small compared with green energy
leaders such as Germany and Spain, but it has posted regular
growth, with year-on-year installations rising 25 percent in
September to 1.7 gigawatts.
IKEA customers will receive a package that includes in-store
consultation, installation and maintenance of the panels, which
are made in Germany.
The Swedish company has its own ambitious clean energy
target, aiming to source at least 70 percent of the group's
energy needs from wind and solar power by 2015 and 100 percent
IKEA already owns wind farms in various European countries
and has placed solar panels on its stores, warehouses and
factories. Hanergy Holding controls Hong Kong-listed Hanergy