It won’t be long before Australians will be able to buy a solar power system along with their flat-pack furniture at IKEA.
News.com.au reported yesterday the company will first kick off a trial for IKEA employees, followed by a general rollout in Western Australia in April, New South Wales and Queensland shortly after, and the rest of the country by July this year.
IKEA won’t be the first major retailer to sell solar power packages in-store. A few have taken a crack at it in Australia, but I’m not aware of any being particularly successful.
In IKEA’s case, it could work out well. The partner they have chosen for this venture is Perth-headquartered SolarGain – which has also been part of the SolarQuotes installer network for around a decade. SolarGain has been operating for more than 20 years and currently has more than 170 staff members nationally.
Unlike the cheap and nasty packages that have appeared at some big retailers, SolarGain uses reputable brands such as LG, SunPower, Longi and Jinko Solar for panels, and inverter brands including Fronius and ABB.
It’s not clear what will be included in the IKEA-sold “Solstrale” packages, but there will be several to choose from including one offering battery storage. Australia will be the eighth country where IKEA has rolled out a home solar power offering and the first market outside of Europe for it to have done so. By 2025, IKEA aims to make home solar available in-store across 30 markets.
IKEA’s expansion into home solar hasn’t all been smooth sailing. OneStepOffTheGrid points out the company ran into trouble in Germany over consumer law related issues.
IKEA’s Own Solar Energy Efforts
As well as selling solar systems, IKEA has been using wind and solar energy to help power its stores, offices and other buildings for around a decade. These haven’t been token systems either; in Australia some of the IKEA stores to have panels installed include:
- Logan (QLD): 740kW
- Rhodes (NSW): 430kW
- Tempe (NSW): 990kW
- Richmond (VIC): 720kW
- Springvale (VIC): 950kW
A page on the IKEA website states 750,000 solar panels have been installed on its buildings around the world, but that figure may be a bit dated as it reached the 700,000 mark back in 2016. As part of its “People & Planet Positive” strategy, IKEA Group committed to generating as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations by this year.
IKEA has also used its flat-pack ninja skills to help develop solar powered emergency accommodation for refugees called Better Shelter.
No company is perfect, but it’s great to see IKEA giving renewable energy such a red-hot go. And aside from the much-needed emissions reduction, using solar power simply makes good business sense.