IKEA solar panel move may boost firms

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - Page 13

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA’s decision to sell solar panels and installation service to consumers in the UK could prove a boon to Taiwanese solar companies, market researcher EnergyTrend said yesterday.

“Taiwan should find more possibilities outside of original equipment manufacturing and original design manufacturing,” said EnergyTrend analyst Arthur Hsu (胥嘉政) , who suggested that local companies consider establishing their own brands.

Small though it is, Taiwan’s comprehensive solar power industry is capable of everything from design to assembly, and should take advantage of the chance to work with IKEA, Hsu said.

The Swedish firm’s expansion into solar power could change the way solar panels are sold in the region, and possibly globally, EnergyTrend said in a note.

“Retailers like IKEA may become the regional trade centers for modules in the future,” and by offering services like technology consultancy and installation services, such retailers are likely to replace online trading systems and contractors, EnergyTrend said.

IKEA plans to provide roof-top solar power solutions in the UK over the next 10 months, with the rest of Europe set to follow, EnergyTrend said.

Roof-top solar panels are becoming mainstream in Europe, as subsidies for ground-mounted solar solutions are likely to end, it said.