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Ikea to start selling solar panels at UK stores

Ikea is set to start selling solar panels at all of its stores in the UK, a first for the Swedish furniture retailer as it looks to capitalize on a growing trend in green energy.

Ikea to start selling solar panels at UK stores

Following a successful pilot project selling photovoltaic systems at a store near London, Ikea plans to expand solar panel sales to all 17 of its stores across Britain, the Reuters news agency reported.

“We want to inspire and enable you to live a more sustainable life at home by offering products and services that will help you to save money, waste and energy,” reads an Ikea website marketing the solar panels.

“We are also strongly committed to investing in renewable energy and ‘energy-efficient’ technology to help tackle climate change.”

The move is also meant to help UK residents take advantage of green energy subsidies meant to encourage more sustainable energy production and help meet carbon emissions targets.

Ikea estimates that homeowners could save as much as $1,200 per year through subsidies and lower energy bills.

While the British solar panel market is relatively small compared to Germany and Spain, it’s growing steadily with Reuters reporting year-on-year growth of home installations up 25 percent so far this year.

The Swedish furniture giant has billed itself a champion of clean energy, vowing to have 100 percent of its own energy needs met by wind and solar power by 2020.

TT/The Local/dl

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ENERGY

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

Sweden's government has proposed a new law which will remove local municipalities' power to block wind parks in the final stages of the planning process, as part of a four-point plan to speed up the expansion of wind power.

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

“We are doing this to meet the increased need for electricity which is going to come as a result of our green industrial revolution,” Strandhäll said at a press conference. 

“It is important to strengthen Sweden by rapidly breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, building out our energy production and restructuring our industry. The Swedish people should not be dependent on countries like Russia to drive their cars or warm their homes.”

“We are going to make sure that municipalities who say “yes” to wind power get increased benefits,” she added in a press statement. “In addition, we are going to increase the speed with which wind power is built far offshore, which can generally neither be seen or heard from land.” 

While municipalities will retain a veto over wind power projects on their territory under the proposed new law, they will have to take their decision earlier in the planning process to prevent wind power developers wasting time and effort obtaining approvals only for the local government to block projects at the final stags. 

“For the local area, it’s mostly about making sure that those who feel that new wind parks noticeably affect their living environment also feel that they see positive impacts on their surroundings as a result of their establishment,” Strandhäll said.  “That might be a new sports field, an improved community hall, or other measures that might make live easier and better in places where wind power is established.” 

According to a report from the Swedish Energy Agency, about half of the wind projects planned since 2014 have managed to get approval. But in recent years opposition has been growing, with the opposition Moderate, Swedish Democrats, and Christian Democrat parties increasingly opposing projects at a municipal level. 

Municipalities frequently block wind park projects right at the end of the planning process following grassroots local campaigns. 

The government a month ago sent a committee report, or remiss, to the Council on Legislation, asking them to develop a law which will limit municipal vetoes to the early stages of the planning process. 

At the same time, the government is launching two inquiries. 

The first will look into what incentives could be given to municipalities to encourage them to allow wind farms on their land, which will deliver its recommendations at the end of March next year. In March, Strandhäll said that municipalities which approve wind farm projects should be given economic incentives to encourage them to accept projects on their land. 

The second will look into how to give the government more power over the approvals process for wind projects under Sweden’s environmental code. This will deliver its recommendations at the end of June next year. 

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