IKEA to Sell Solar Panels

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Swedish do-it-yourself furniture store IKEA will begin selling home solar panel kits in the U.K. over the next 10 months. The kit will cost about $9,200 and generate 3,360 watts of electricity.

The kits, unlike IKEA’s snap-together furniture, come with an offer of professional system design and installation from the store’s partner, China’s Hanergy. The system will also be available on a leased basis, where the customer pays no upfront cost but agrees to buy the energy generated at a fixed price. While IKEA does not quote installation pricing, customers should expect to pay about the same amount again for professional installation.

By way of comparison, in the U.S. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) sells a 400 watt solar panel kit for about $1,500, but that system is intended for small off-grid use in recreational vehicles or vacation cabins. Walmart does not offer installation services. You’re on your own.

IKEA noted in its announcement that a pilot program has been running at one store in the U.K. since July and that the store sells an average of about one system a day.

The system will pay for itself in about seven years according to IKEA for those who purchase the system. But again, that does not include the installation cost.

IKEA also said it would evaluate the U.K. program before it deciding whether or not to roll out the offer in other countries.