The United Kingdom is not known for its cheery weather, but that doesn’t mean its residents can’t benefit from the power of sunshine. IKEA stores are now offering home installation of solar power setups to their customers in the UK.
The move represents a substantial departure from the Swedish retail giant’s traditional offerings of tealights, spartan furnishings, and meatballs. To make it happen, IKEA teamed up with local energy firm Solarcentury, which has been creating sun-based power solutions for the rainy nation for almost two decades.
“Our business partnership with IKEA is a significant step forward for the renewable energy industry,” Susannah Wood, Solarcentury’s head of residential solar energy, said in a statement. “The cost of solar installations has dropped considerably in recent years and is in fact 100 times cheaper than it was 35 years ago.”
The folks at IKEA are equally excited.
“The energy of the future is going to be about millions of homes making energy, not big coal-fired power stations,” the flat-pack company's chief sustainability officer, Steve Howard, said in a video.
IKEA estimates that the average solar-powered home in the UK uses only 40 percent of the power it generates; the rest is sent back to the national grid. To help homeowners avoid this loss, the company offers battery storage systems in addition to the solar panels themselves.
“It’s not only about saving money, which is probably one of the main reasons to do it,” deputy retail manager Javier Quiñones said in the video above, “but also, for us, the more solar panels we put in the market, the more we will contribute to a better world.”
The company promises that customers will not have to assemble the solar panels themselves. No word yet on if and when they'll make their way into U.S. stores.