Ikea looks to be in the solar power generation industry for the long haul. On Tuesday, Ikea announced that it is partnering with Solarcentury, a solar company, to sell solar batteries with the ultimate goal of making power storage more affordable and accessible for everyday citizens.
Notably, this isn't the retail giant's first endeavor into bringing green energy to the masses. For example, back in 2013, Ikea started selling solar panels in the UK. That came to a halt after the local government announced in December it was going to cut solar subsidies by 65 percent. Naturally, that made solar panel sales plummet across the region. However, Ikea's partnership with Solarcentury has the makings of a big step in the right direction.
Solar panels have been the focus since reintroducing the product, but Ikea has recently added a new battery storage option. It can be purchased separately for those that already have solar panels installed on their rooftops, or it can be added into the setup for new customers. It’s a hefty purchase checking in at $4,000 US for the battery itself and slightly over $8,000 US for the entire package based on location and solar array size. However, the battery itself is lower than the $7,000 US it takes to install Tesla’s Powerwall.
Ikea claims that UK residents will save 50 percent on electricity bills with their solar system. Whether or not a battery option is added, customers can save by either feeding their excess energy back to the grid or storing it for later use. Adding a battery would theoretically be the best value as there wouldn’t be as much reliance on the grid. Consumers would use the energy they generate.
The installation process has also been streamlined for a hassle-free experience. After getting a quote, Ikea comes to survey the household. If the location works and the solar panels would be able to generate enough energy to make a difference, they’ll approve the quote. The solar-powered system will also massively reduce the household’s carbon footprint. Their website compares one of these home systems to planting “55 trees in your back garden.”
At the moment, there is no information on Ikea making a move toward the United States to sell the solar system. Tesla’s Solar Roof remains the primary option as they continue to roll things out. They face limited competition, with startup Forward Labs making the most noise and currently offering a cheaper solar solution in the Bay Area.
Solar-powered generation remains a costly product for consumers up front. There’s also still a gray area in terms of what type of energy is in the grid. Most clean energy sent back to the grid is generally mixed in with that from traditional fossil fuel sources. However, Ikea is making great progress in providing a way to keep that clean energy for later use. It’s also one of the more affordable options out there.
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