The Swedish home furnishing giant is rolling out its residential solar program in three European countries in the coming months before expanding its solar sales points in stores globally. It aims to be the largest residential solar retailer globally.
Building on its pioneering role in installing large solar arrays atop its stores in the Europe, the U.S. and Australia, Ikea will now introduce sales points within its stores at which homeowners will be able to purchase solar systems. It plans to begin offering residential solar arrays from its stores in nine countries in 2016/17.
Ikea will begin rolling out the solar sales points within its stores in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland in the first half of 2016. It is making the move after having conducted trial solar sales programs in the same three countries. Ikea reports the trial was a success with customers responding well to the combination of simplicity, transparency and the ability to produce their own renewable energy at an affordable price.
“Ikea’s ambition is to help and inspire their customers to live a more sustainable life at home and the residential solar program is one step on the way to reach that ambition,” said Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability innovation at Ikea. “Last year there were 770 million visits to Ikea stores worldwide and the company sees that as a great platform to fulfill our ambition and for people to be able to live a more sustainable life at home.”
Ikea will work with different solar component suppliers and installers in different markets, tendering for services and products on a market-by-market basis. It has selected the three quite varied initial markets which allows the Swedish firm to assess how solar sales works in different regulatory environments.
“Ikea performed a pilot program in UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland to understand if residential solar would fit naturally into the minds of Ikea customers,” Nordkvist continued. “The three countries were selected based on many criteria, among others the difference in regulatory environment and maturity of their solar market.”
Ikea does not intend to sell self-branded modules, mounting systems and inverters. Nordkvist says that Ikea will work very closely with installers and component suppliers to ensure quality and on pricing.
“To be able to deploy residential solar in a big scale we need to have a very simple and transparent purchase process for the customer and the offer needs to be very affordable, this is what our customers normally get when they visit Ikea and this is what we will continue to have, including the residential solar offer.”
The company will roll out its solar sales program in batches of three markets at a time. The company hopes this will allow it to progress at a steady pace and continue to assess sales performance in each market
Ikea will also sell residential solar from its web portal. In 2015, Ikea reported 1.9 billion visits to its global web platforms.
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