IKEA sells solar panels all over the world, but not in the UK – for now. We reveal the latest on IKEA Solstråle panels
Whatever happened to IKEA solar panels? The Swedish furniture giant launched its Solstråle range of solar PV panels and batteries in the UK in 2017 but withdrew them from sale two years later. You can still buy IKEA solar panels in Australia, Spain and many other countries besides, so why not here?
The main reason IKEA solar panels disappeared from UK shelves in 2019 – or went “on pause”, to quote the official line – was the end of the Feed In Tariff (FIT) reward scheme, which gave both buyers and sellers a huge incentive to go solar.
The FIT may be history, but demand for solar panels in the UK has never been higher, and panels have never been more cost-effective. According to industry body MCS, more than 17,000 UK households have installed panels every month this year, so the market is seriously buoyant. As a result, we think IKEA’s panels are highly likely to make a comeback. But when?
Read on for a brief history of IKEA solar panels, and our predictions for their future in the UK. If you would rather not wait, use our free quote finder tool to find the best prices from reputable solar installers near you.
What happened to IKEA solar panels?
They still exist. You can view the Solstråle range via IKEA’s Netherlands website and elsewhere.
Prices are as affordable as you would expect from the no-frills homewares champion. Through a partnership with Dutch provider Svea Solar, IKEA is offering ten high-efficiency 410kW solar panels for €4,320 (around £3,750), an excellent price that includes installation and a 25-year warranty.
In Australia – which became the latest country to welcome IKEA’s solar range in 2020 following a deal with Aussie solar giant Solargain – prices are even better thanks to very generous government tariffs. Customers within 100km of any Australian IKEA store can buy a sizeable 6.37-6.52kW system of Solstråle panels, plus installation and warranty, for AUS$4,490, which is around £2,350.
Other countries that still sell IKEA solar panels and solar storage batteries include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, though, sadly, UK customers can’t buy solar panels via overseas IKEA websites.
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What happened to IKEA solar panels in the UK?
IKEA made headlines when it began selling solar panels and solar batteries in the UK in 2016. The company’s decision to halt their sale coincided with the end of the FIT tariff scheme in March 2019, which had previously been offered as an incentive for families to switch to renewable energy.
According to IKEA’s official explanation, solar panels made less financial sense for its customers once FIT had ended. In their statement, IKEA said: “At this point in time, we do not feel that the majority of new home solar customers will get a good deal, making the commercial offer unviable until the UK solar market landscape improves.”
For IKEA to blame its withdrawal from the UK’s solar market on the lack of government incentives certainly doesn’t feel like the full story. Especially given that solar panels are a better buy than ever. British consumers have gone wild for solar, with 1.3 million domestic solar PV systems installed here. So IKEA, whose prices are particularly attractive, is missing out on a potentially huge market share.
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Why did IKEA really stop selling solar panels?
Business partnerships are the key to IKEA’s solar range. Unlike with their furniture and other homewares, their solar panels and batteries aren’t made, or installed, by IKEA. Instead, they partner with local solar firms who provide the panels, along with warranties and installation. If these partnerships don’t work out, IKEA can’t sell the panels.
Between 2016 and 2019, IKEA subcontracted its UK solar sales to Solarcentury, which in turn subcontracted to others. This subcontracting chain will have limited IKEA’s profits.
In fact, IKEA first sold solar panels and heat pumps in the UK in 2013, but stopped in 2015. Their sale was halted, in part, due to a lack of interest among UK consumers, who didn’t realise how much cheaper solar electricity was compared to conventional utility bills. IKEA subsequently decided not to renew the contract with their UK solar supplier.
Fast forward to today and, with sales at an all-time high, UK consumers are only too aware that solar is a cost-effective alternative to soaring utility bills. We may simply be a boardroom handshake away from seeing solar panels back in IKEA’s UK stores.
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Will IKEA sell solar panels in the UK again?
We do think they will be back, but we’re not holding our breath. IKEA is likely to resist re-launching its solar range in the UK until incentives become more generous again, and we can’t see that happening under the current government.
As we previously mentioned, IKEA can offer solar panels very cheaply in Australia as a direct result of government incentives, while in the UK, companies simply can’t afford to sell solar panels at prices anywhere near as low. So IKEA, mindful of its reputation for good value, may want to wait until it can sign deals with suppliers that will make panels as affordable for its customers here as elsewhere.
IKEA’s latest public statement on the matter is, flatly: “We have no plans to begin selling solar panels [in the UK] at this current time.”
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What are the best alternatives to IKEA solar panels?
If you’re intrigued by the prospect of cheap IKEA solar panels, you may find yourself waiting quite some time for the Solstråle range of solar panels and solar batteries to be available again. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent alternatives.
In our round-up of the best solar panels, we demonstrated that you can get some of the most durable and efficient solar panels on the market for well under £500 each. Installation may add £1,000-£2,000 to the price of a PV system, but these costs are falling as competition in the industry heats up and as advanced solar technology becomes more widely available.
To find the right solar PV system and installer for you – at prices even IKEA would deem affordable – enter a few details into our quote-finder tool and our hand-picked local installers will be in touch with no-obligation quotes.