Ikea is now selling solar panels and batteries in the UK – a move that it claims could slash energy bills by up to £560 a year.
The home furnishings retailer has teamed up with Solarcentury to offer home solar systems for “as little as £3,000”, potentially marking a major turning point for the home energy market and its ever-increasing prices.
An online calculator enables customers to work how much they could shave off their energy bills by simply tapping in their postcode. The calculator brings up a Google Maps aerial view of their home followed by a series of questions about the shape, angle and sunny side of their roof, and how often their home is occupied. Thankfully, it’s possible to opt out of the last question for obvious security reasons.
The addition of batteries is aimed at making further cost savings, as solar homes in the UK typically only consume around 40% of the electricity they generate while the rest goes back to the National Grid.
Ikea claims its new panel and battery system boosts the amount of solar electricity an average home can use to 80%, resulting in as much as 70% of their energy bills.
Solarcentury has already helped more than 25,000 UK homeowners to go solar and, according to Ikea, it can install the new system in a little as three weeks after the buyer first gets their estimate. For those who already have solar panels and only need to add a battery, prices start at £5,000.
“The cost of solar installations has dropped considerably in recent years and is in fact 100 times cheaper than it was 35 years ago,” said Susannah Wood, Head of Residential Solar at Solarcentury. “We believe Ikea and Solarcentury are bringing the most competitive package to the market yet so more people than ever before can profit financially and environmentally by producing their own energy.”
Last month, the UK government announced a £246 million investment in battery technology which will save consumers a claimed £40bn by 2050. Over the next four years, the cash will fund a series of competitions, under the Faraday Challenge project, designed to boost the research and development of expertise in battery technology.
Named after Michael Faraday, the 19th-century scientist who pioneered the technology behind the electric motor, the challenges will be led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Last month, Tesla launched its Powerwall 2 – the second iteration of its home battery line – in Australia, where it is hoped it will fix the problem of ongoing power blackouts in southern parts of the country.
Tesla boss Elon Musk expects to sell more of the next-gen home battery than cars, which is very likely. Unlike Tesla’s cars, the battery and related solar panels are not solely aimed at those with high incomes and could be beneficial in developing countries as an easier way to store solar energy.
The Powerwall 2 has yet to be given a UK price or release date.