Solar panels go on sale at IkeaCould solar panels halve your electricity bill?

25 April 2016

Solar panels installed on a sunny roof

The cost of solar PV panels is coming down but the feed-in tariff has also been cut

Ikea is selling solar panels in some UK stores from today and claims that they are one of the best home investments, cutting owners’ electricity bills by as much as half.

Shoppers will initially be able to buy solar panels in Ikea’s Glasgow, Birmingham and Lakeside stores, as well as online. Manchester's store will open on 2 May and Southampton's on 6 June 2016. Ikea says all UK stores will have Solar Shops by the end of the summer.

If you’re considering investing in solar panels for, check our solar panel brands review first to see the best and worst.

Will Ikea solar panels cut your electricity bills?

Ikea says solar panels are a good investment, despite cuts to the feed-in tariff, a government incentive that pays households that produce their own renewable energy.

The government currently pays 4.39p for every unit of electricity generated through the feed-in tariff. But before 16 January 2016, the amount paid was 65% higher (12.92p), meaning consumers will now make a smaller return on panels and it will take much longer for them to pay for themselves.

Ikea states the average solar installation will cost from £4,550, based on a semi-detached house with 10 panels that are 3.1kWp monocrystalline systems.

The Swedish firm claims that owners should be able to pay off their initial investment in around 11 years as well as saving up to 50% on their electricity bills. Its calculations are based on an annual electricity bill of £584 for a home with a South West or South East facing roof in central UK.

Since all homes vary, such as in the amount of sunlight they get per day and the direction they face, we recommend working it out for your own home.

Which? research found that the average cost paid by members for a 3.6 to 4kWp system is £6,750*. Using the Energy Savings Trust online solar energy calculator, we found that the typical payback time for an average installation of 4kWp solar photovoltaic panels is around 24 years.

This is based on an annual electricity bill of £660 (£55 a month) with the solar panel system installed on an optimum roof (south facing with a 30-degree tilt) on a house in Birmingham, with an Energy Performance Certificate of band D or higher.

So the homeowner could make around £352 per year, but a net profit of around £300 over the life of the panels. See our guide to solar PV prices and savings to find out more.

Ikea solar panels

The solar PV panels on sale are made by UK company SolarCentury and are polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Monocrystalline tend to be the most efficient solar PV panels; polycrystalline can be cheaper but also less efficient.

SolarCentury will offer two options; blue or black. Blue will cost around £4,875 and the more efficient black around £5,150. Prices are based on a 3kWp system, including installation costs and the 15% Ikea family discount. Both come with a six year warranty.

This isn’t the first time Ikea has sold solar panels. From 2013 to November 2015 Chinese firm Hanenergy sold thin-film PV solar panels in Ikea stores.

*Survey of 1,530 Which? members, July 2015.

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