UPDATE: The Feed-In Tariff is now closed for new applications. To find out about the new scheme designed to replace it, click here.
The cost of solar has come down dramatically in the last few years, to the point where solar PV is a viable option for many households. The market for domestic size systems is highly competitive and as a result you can get a good quality 4kW system for under £7,000 these days. Ikea has gone one step further and is now offering a cut price solar PV system for the home at a price of £5,700 inclusive of VAT for a 3.36kW system.
How does it work?
Many Ikea stores now have sales reps for solar PV. The first step is to talk to one of them and they will give you an idea of feasibility. Simple checks like looking at your roof on Google Earth are carried out and the rep will create a simple design on the computer to give you an idea of the sort of system you could have.
The next step is to arrange for a solar PV feasibility survey to be carried out. A surveyor will come to your home, take measurements and let you know exactly what sort of system you will be looking at.
Do you get feed in tariff payments with Ikea?
Yes. The system meets all the relevant regulations, with the installers being MCS accredited and as such you can claim feed in tariff payments with Ikea. Remember, the Feed-in tariff is what makes solar PV so attractive, providing a return of approximately £800 every year (guaranteed for 20 years). The return is made up of the actual Feed-in tariff payments (for generating the electricity and exporting it back to the grid) as well as the reduction in your electricity bill you simply use what you produce.
Remember, key to getting the highest Feed-in tariff payment is to submit your application with an EPC with at least a Band ‘D’ efficiency rating – if you don’t do this, you will be paid the lower feed-in tariff payment, which will dramatically reduce your solar PV return.
Are there cheaper options?
There may be some companies offering cheaper panels, but chances are they are using low quality Chinese panels and inverters, which are liable to pack up very quickly. The Ikea panels are made by Hanergy Solar, who are a large Chinese manufacturer and the biggest solar company in the UK. As a larger manufacturer they can produce relatively reliable panels at a reasonable price. That’s not to say that there are not better panels on the market however. You can pay a bit more and get a high quality system, but it depends on what you are looking for.
What sort of return can I expect?
Whilst this is a little below the market rate, the price is not a million miles away from other installers on the market. The feed in tariff is reducing again in April, which means that you should get the system installed before then to maximise your return. Even so, you are looking at a payback time of 8-10 years.
So Ikea’s product could be described as much like their furniture, it is low cost, no frills, but functional. If you are looking for the Rolls Royce of solar this isn’t it, but it might be a good low cost option for your home.