Get excited, Earthlings who like the Earth: IKEA just announced a new program to sell energy-saving solar panels in each of its 17 UK stores. This means that with a little bit more effort than it takes to purchase a set of Billy bookcases, Brits can be doing their part to bring the world a little closer to sustainable energy.
The Swedish retailer will start selling photovoltaic (PV) systems to UK customers within the next ten months, who will in turn save buckets of money every year. The Chinese-made setups stand to yield their new owners around £740 in subsidies and energy savings annually. But it will take a good few years for buyers to recoup the approximately £5,700 it costs to buy the system (comprised of 17 panels -- delivery and installation included) in the first place. But the things do, eventually, pay for themselves. "You don't have to care about the environment and climate change," IKEA's head of sustainability Steve Howard told The Wall Street Journal, "you can just care about the finances."
This big move towards solar energy doesn't come as a huge surprise for IKEA. First of all, there's been evidence that the home furnishings chain has been thinking about getting into the solar panel sales business for over five years. IKEA has been a leader in sustainable energy for some time now having installed solar panels on the roofs of stores worldwide and plans to draw 70 percent of its energy from solar and wind power by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020. What's next? An IKEA-built city? Oh wait… [Reuters]