Ikea starts selling solar panels and home battery packs

Ikea is now selling solar power systems and home battery packs in the UK, claiming people who sign up to the system can save up to £560 a year.

The Swedish retail giant says that by installing supersized batteries on their walls, homeowners can store the power generated by solar panels, most of which is never consumed by households.

While homeowners have long been encouraged to install solar panels on their roofs, prices have come down in recent years and the installation of lithium-ion batteries to store the energy is a newer phenomenon.

Solarcentury battery
Batteries installed on a household wall store energy from the panels CREDIT: SOLARCENTURY

Ikea said around 60 per cent of the energy generated by panels is returned to the grid instead of being used by households, and more if a property is unoccupied during the day. By saving energy in batteries for use at night, it says bills can be cut by up to 70 per cent.

Ikea has started selling the systems on its website after partnering with solar power company Solarcentury. Installation is more complicated than the DIY flat-pack furniture assembly its customers might be used to, with potential buyers picking out the corners of their rooftops on Google Maps and installation taking three weeks and upwards after a survey.

Ikea says the batteries cost £3,000 and up, although included as part of a solar panel system brings that up to £6,295, meaning it will take 12 years to recoup the investment. Prices can rise above £10,000 for larger panel installations.

Last week, the Government announced that it would invest £246m in battery technology to power a revolution in energy storage.

Tesla, the electric car company run by Elon Musk, sells a similar “PowerWall” battery system and has unveiled plans to sell solar panels that look like roof tiles, claiming it will change the world’s energy infrastructure.

“We’re always looking for ways to help customers take positive actions at home for both the environment and their wallets,” Hege Saebjornsen, Ikea’s country sustainability manager for UK and Ireland said.

“With energy bills already going up 15 per cent this year, there’s never been a better time for customers to take back control of their electricity bills and maximise their savings by switching to solar and solar storage.”

This week, British Gas said green taxes were partly to blame for a major increase in electricity prices.

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