Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ikea Selling Solar Panels

Ikea has begun selling solar panels to customers in the UK - in its trademark flat-pack style.

The Swedish firm said it was using Britain to test the ground for its plan to offer renewable energy to the mainstream market worldwide because of the country's current electricity prices and financial incentives from the Government.
The company said it was not the first general retailer to sell solar panels but claimed its partnership with Chinese firm Hanergy was the only one to provide a built-in care package.

Ikea said a standard, all-black 3.36-kilowatt system for a semi-detached home will cost £5,700 and include an in-store consultation and design service as well as installation, maintenance and energy monitoring service.

The company claimed the solar panel investment would pay for itself in about seven years for the average home.

The Government offers private solar panel owners the opportunity to sell back electricity to the grid on days when they have surplus production and has a financing plan for solar power investments, which means residents can buy a system for no up-front cost and pay it off gradually.
The panels are currently only sold in Southampton but Ikea said its stores across Britain would follow in the coming months

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The end of ever dropping residential solar prices?

The UK residential solar market seems have stabilised in terms of pricing: at the start of this year a 4kwp (16 panel) system could cost as little as £5,000 or as much as £7,500; currently a price range of around £5,500 to £6,500 is the norm in the market.

Caused by the minimum price for Chinese panels, this smaller price range combines with a trend away from cheap Chinese panels to ‘higher quality’ European and Japanese brands. This appears to be the end of a race towards ever-falling prices and allows installers to focus their selling on quality rather than quantity of materials, service and warranty.

It shows most installers are currently offering their best price for a 4kwp system at between £5,500 and £6,500. Previously there was a segment of the market offering rock-bottom-prices as low as £5,000, but the minimum price set by the EU on Chinese panels has either forced these companies to go out of business or pushed up their pricing.

Product-wise, most installers are picking ‘higher quality’ panels. These are either characterised by a more reliable brand (e.g. a large solar-PV company or a diversified electronics firm) or by product characteristics (all-black panels, higher Wp panels). Examples are the Yingli 275wp, LG 285wp or BenQ 325wp panels.

Systems costing less than £6,000 tend to be more likely to still use smaller Chinese brands, whereas those above £6,000 are more likely to use larger brands. We see a shift with many installers towards the use of European (e.g. Axitec, Bosch, Solarworld) or non-Chinese Asian manufacturers (e.g. LG, Hyundai), driven by consumer demand and the reduction of price difference with Chinese manufacturers.

A more mature market for residential solar seems to be appearing with stability in pricing and feed-in-tariffs. Over the past year many installers have also left the residential solar PV market or diversified into commercial solar or other renewable energies, which leaves a smaller installer base to focus on consumer demand. Compared to a year ago, those installers that remain focused on residential solar PV are certainly more positive, and relieved that site surveys can once again be about quality of materials, service and warranty rather than ever lower prices.
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UK solar installation heads for record

Installations of solar power in the UK are likely to top records this year, and could offset some of the expensive dependence on gas, research has found, but the global outlook for green energy is still gloomy.
Green energy could help to reduce bills, he said, pointing to some periods in the UK when, thanks to the contribution of wind power in particular, wholesale short-term prices had reduced considerably. "But that doesn't get passed through to the consumer, because there is no transparency in the market, and so people don't know about it. Yet you get this distortion of people saying [bill rises] are from green subsidies."
Investment in the UK was shored up by the falling price of solar components, which helped to spur installations. But "solar farms" taking up acres of land with solar panels have come under fire from some politicians and countryside campaigners.

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Is it time to put solar panels on your roof?


You’ll be paid a minimum sum for all electricity generated by your system, known as the Feed-In Tariff (Fit). You’ll currently get 14.9p per kilowatt hour (kwh) for each unit of electricity you create.

You get 4.6p for every unit sold back to the Grid. Together, these payments boost your savings because your on-site electricity reduces the bill from your normal supplier.

Sign up now and this tariff will be frozen for 20 years — and rises with inflation. The Energy Saving Trust estimates half of all the power created by homes with solar panels is sold back to the Grid.


About £800 a year, typically. For example, a family of four in a three-bed property who buy a 4kWh solar panel system will earn about £560 a year from their supplier just for generating the solar electricity.

On top of this, they will then make £90 from selling power back to the National Grid via their energy supplier.

And finally, they’ll typically knock £150 from their electricity bill by using their own power instead of buying it all from their supplier.

This works out as approximately £800 of savings in total.

To find out what kind of savings you could make, use the solar energy calculator on the Energy Saving trust website.

At these rates, you need to be prepared to stay in your current property for a minimum of eight years to make it worthwhile. The key to making big savings is to use as many of your appliances as possible in the daytime when you are generating your own power.

Your installer should show you how everything works and you must register the Feed-In Tariff.

A new meter then shows you how much energy is being generated — and how much you are exporting.

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