Ikea starts selling solar panels in UK stores
All of Ikea’s UK stores will be selling solar panels by the end of the year, the company has said.
Stores in Birmingham, Grays and Glasgow have started selling selling solar panels, with Manchester and Southampton following in May. The decision comes despite government cuts to feed-in tariffs and a drop in the number of solar installations.
The company will be working with company Solarcentury to provide the panels and supply local installers from its network.
Ikea’s bet on solar, which it has subbed ‘solar shops’, comes as the UK’s rate of solar installations has dropped off.
According to Ofgem, the sector’s regulator, UK households had an installed solar capacity of 21 megawatts (MW) in February and March this year. The figure was significantly down from the 81MW that was installed over the same two months of 2015.
In December 2015 the government announced that it would cut solar subsidies for those wanting to install rooftop panels by 65 per cent. At the time The Guardian reported the government would pay those with solar panels 4.39 pence per kilowatt hour instead of 12.47p.
As well as subsidy cuts, there are also fears the the number of jobs in the sector will be hit. An impact assessment from the Department of Energy and Climate Change found that 18,700 jobs could be lost at most. It said the least number of jobs to be lost would be 9,700.
Despite the gloomy forecast for solar in the UK, Ikea said its own research found that 33 per cent of UK homeowners would still “like” to invest in solar panels for their homes. It is Ikea’s second attempt at selling solar panels in the UK; over the course of 2013-14 it had sold panels in its 17 stores but decided to end the contract with its previous supplier, Hanergy Solar UK, in November 2015.
Ikea said it will sell two different types of solar panels: blue and black. These will be installed within six weeks of purchase, according to the company.
Ten blue Polycrystalline panels, Ikea said, are enough to power a standard semi detached house and will cost £4,550. Ten black Monocrystalline panels will cost £4,850.
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