IKEA brings solar panels to the UK, aiming for mainstream

Though they've made clear that the decision to sell solar panels to the masses on a market-by-market basis, the results are already clear: IKEA is aiming to make solar energy mainstream. If there's one company that can take this green push to the market in a way that's not-quite-cheap but certainly not overpriced, it's IKEA. And here with the IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard speaking on the subject with the AP this week, "It's the right time to go for the consumers."

Howard also made clear that for an average home in Britain, IKEA has estimated that a solar panel investment will be paid off in a matter of years. This is, of course, if you plan on staying in one home for that long – this is part of the reason this release is a market-by-market release: one living abode forever isn't always common.

"If you are going to be in your house that long, your energy will be free after seven years." – IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard

Launching in Britain first came as a decision based on a variety of factors. One was the combination of government-sponsored financial incentives and electricity prices hitting on an ideal mid-level. In the United States, groups like Home Depot and Lowe's have also begun selling solar panels on a limited basis. Opposition to widespread use of solar panels in the United States has been infrequent, but when it pops up, it's often targeted with the likes of, as reported earlier this month by Reuters, firefighter reports suggesting solar panels can shock them when they're attempting to put out a blaze.

Meanwhile reports like the one published in Grist from earlier this year show the absurdity of it all, with U.S. Utilities companies opposing solar panels because, as they say, they'll destroy the utility business model that's existed in the USA for many, many years. Their words include "irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects" of utilities, in fact.

In the UK, users of solar panels are able to sell electricity to the grid when they produce more than they'll need to use. Meanwhile the government has a financing plan for citizens making solar power investments – the combination of these two items means a prospective user can purchase a solar panel at no upfront cost, paying it down eventually, and if they're really fabulously good at collecting more energy than they can use, maybe even have no costs at all – we'll see how good IKEA's units are sooner than later.

IMAGE VIA: Daily Mail UK