IKEA is already known for using solar power at some of their store locations, but recently the company decided to sell solar panels in eight more countries. This decision is a big deal because IKEA is the world’s largest furniture seller. In other words, offering rooftop solar panels to homeowners in their stores gives much more visibility to solar power.
IKEA is not expanding solar sales only to be green or take an activist stance. The decision is based in economics that are increasingly favorable to solar power. It’s known that solar power costs have dropped very much in the last six years. Homeowners might not be fully aware of how low the cost of solar is currently, but IKEA’s decision to sell more solar panels will probably raise consumer awareness.
Sweden and the Netherlands are two the countries where IKEA will offer solar panel sales soon. The other six of the eight have not been announced yet. IKEA home products are known for their affordability, so it seems likely that the company will sell solar panels in a price range the fits their customer base well.
This is an exciting development, because picking up solar panels for home use may become as common as choosing other familiar items at IKEA stores like beds, dining tables or desks.
IKEA has installed about 700,000 solar panels on its own structures and has goal of generating all its power from renewable sources by 2020. If IKEA can achieve this ambitious goal, it will be an example to the business community and to customers. Sustainability is a company value at IKEA, though there certainly could be debate about the place of consumerism in modern society and its environmental impact.
It seems to be very important for huge corporations to lead on corporate social responsibility because of the impact they can have on people’s lives, from customers to employees. IKEA in the UK offers a 15% discount on solar panels for their employees.