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IKEA now selling solar panels in UK as part of renewable energy push

IKEA now selling solar panels in UK as part of renewable energy push

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IKEA is now selling solar panels at its stores in Britain. The housewares retailer has already announced plans to switch over to solar and wind power by 2020, but now it wants to help customers incorporate renewable energy at home. "It's the right time to go for the consumers," said IKEA's sustainability director Steve Howard, speaking to the Associated Press. According to Howard, falling prices for solar panels led the company to bring them to retail. But you won't be buying these solar panels on a whim; a 3.36 kilowatt system is priced at £5,700 ($9,200), though that investment includes an in-store consultation, installation costs, and maintenance services. Despite the high ticket price, Howard says the panels will essentially have paid for themselves after about seven years of ownership. "If you are going to be in your house that long, your energy will be free after seven years."

Retailers in the US like The Home Depot and Loewe's already sell solar panels, but choices can prove less abundant elsewhere. IKEA is starting with one UK store today, planning to expand availability across all of its 17 stores in Britain within 10 months. And IKEA's environmental push doesn't end with solar power; the company has previously said it will halt sales of traditional lighting in favor of LED bulbs by 2016.