Besides its signature flat-pack furniture and storied meatballs, Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA will begin offering solar panels in its 17 stores in the U.K. within 10 months, according to a report in pvmagazine.com Monday.
"We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and we hope working with Hanergy [Hanergy Solar Group Ltd. (HKG:0566), based in China] to make solar panels affordable and easily available helps them do just that," Joanna Yarrow, IKEA’S head of sustainability in the U.K. and Ireland, said.
The minimum package of 18 panels, made of thin-film photovoltaic panels, will be priced at about $11,000. IKEA said the investment for homeowners will pay off and will likely break even within seven years.
IKEA has been looking to shift to renewable energy for its stores by 2020. It plans to invest billions of dollars in solar- and wind-power generation to cover 70 percent of its energy use by 2015. By 2020 it hopes to produce more energy than it consumes.
The company already has solar panels on its factories, warehouses and stores. IKEA also owns several wind farms in Europe.
“We believe that sustainability should not be a luxury good. It should be affordable for everyone,” Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer of IKEA, said. “With over 770 million visitors to our stores, we are excited by the opportunity to help our customers fulfill their dreams at home with beautiful products that help them save money on their household bills by reducing energy and water use, as well as reducing waste.”
Greenpeace International praised IKEA’s plan and have called on other companies to follow suit.
IKEA has around 300 stores in 41 countries. The company ran a successful pilot project in one of its store locations in Essex and is now for the first time on a large scale going to introduce it to the 17 locations in the U.K.