Ikea launches solar panels test in Britain

Ikea launches solar panels test in Britain

STOCKHOLM - The world's leading furniture retailer Ikea said Monday it had started selling solar panels in its British stores.

"It's a logical extension. You can buy everything that consumes energy (at Ikea) so why not buy something that generates energy," the company's chief sustainability officer, Steve Howard, told AFP.

"The nationwide initiative ...kicked off today at Ikea's Southampton store ... and will be rolled out in all 17 Ikea stores across the UK within the next 10 months," Ikea said in a statement.

The Swedish company chose Britain as a test market, and a decision about whether to add other countries will be taken in the coming year.

Howard said there was "no special reason" why Britain was chosen as the first country.

"It is not the sunniest country in the world but you can absolutely get a good amount of electricity" from solar panels, he said.

"You can get good payback - it's a sensible thing to do to put solar on your roof," he said, adding that consumers would see a pay-off after about seven years.

The solar panels, made by China's Hanergy, will retail at 5,700 pounds (6,800 euros or US$9,200 or S$11,555).

"Many of our clients want to live more sustainably but it has to be easy, affordable and attractive," Howard noted.

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