October 01, 2013, 12:41 PM — Soon, customers in Britain will be able to walk into IKEA, grab the box with their new coffee table, grab the box with their new bed, and grab the box with their new...solar panels?
That's right: the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant unveiled a new initiative to sell residential solar panels at its stores in Britain, as part of a larger goal to bring renewable energy to customers worldwide. For now the panels (manufactured by Chinese company Hanergy Holding Group, Ltd.) are only sold at a few stores, but the company plans to roll out the program nationwide in the coming months.
Customers must purchase a minimum of eighteen panels at once, for a total of £5,700 (approximately $9,000). Though still a hefty up-front cost, the company claims the investment will be paid off in seven years or so due to Britain's solar subsidies. As reported by The Guardian, an IKEA case study showed the average homeowner with a South-facing roof could regain as much as $1245 per year through subsidies and savings.
In addition to the panels, the cost covers an in-store consultation, installation, and maintenance, so there's no need for you to struggle with a hex key or get 90% of the way through construction and realize you lost a wooden dowel.
Renewable energy hasn't caught on in Britain as much as other European countries--particularly Germany and Spain--but in August the country did surpass the 1-gigawatt level.
As for IKEA, the company is an outspoken supporter of renewables, with a corporate aim to source 100% of the power used in its mammoth warehouses/retail stores from wind and solar by 2020, so you can shop guilt-free as you chow down on those Swedish meatballs and 50-cent hot dogs.