Ikea’s low-cost photovoltaic kit

There has been much talk about the launch of Ikea’s low-cost, but obviously not do-it-yourself, photovoltaic kit in California: but in Europe, it has been available for a few years already.

With winter just around the corner, one of the most pressing topics on the political agenda appears to be how to curb energy expenditure and gas consumption, due to the ever tighter deadlines imposed by the climate crisis and the more recent crises linked to the Ukrainan war. Besides structural investments in domestic energy production plants – from wind turbines to the much-discussed nuclear power plants – the easiest and quickest solution to adopt in domestic settings remains photovoltaic panels. These, in fact, transform solar radiation into electricity to power our homes and possibly also heat pumps to heat and cool rooms, thereby reducing gas bills.

Just a few days ago, Ikea announced the inclusion of a low-cost photovoltaic kit in the catalog of its Californian locations. Produced in collaboration with SunPower Corp. – a US leader in solar technology and energy services – the four packages currently available include various combinations of solar power, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging. Customers can learn more about the home solar offering at IKEA California shops and online and then work directly with SunPower to access solar power packages developed especially for IKEA Family loyalty members.

Photovoltaic system diagram. Courtesy IKEA

The product was already in Australian and European markets, specifically in countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, and Portugal. In Europe, the proposal dates back to 2019, with the sale of two packages: Solstråle Basic and Solstråle Plus, the latter including a storage system - prices, as in the Italian case, already net of the discount on the invoice provided by the Ecobonus currently in force. Although the product name and cost are the same, each country then relies on the technical guidance of a local specialist company. In Italy, for example, the customer will be guided in the choice of a solution by the partner Wölmann – a specialized company based in Lissone – while in France, external advice will be provided by the French company Voltalia.

The kit proposed by Ikea is cheaper than other similar solutions for producing energy at home using solar panels, but it indeed cannot be said to be do-it-yourself, since, unlike the Swedish giant's classic strategy, technicians are now indispensable. Whether this solution becomes affordable thanks to the Swedish giant or not, including clean energy production solutions on the mass market is still a significant step forward.

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