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IKEA to Sell Solar Modules, Distributed Market Opportunities Takeoff

published: 2013-10-08 11:33

IKEA, a Swedish company and world’s largest furniture retailer, announces that they are branching out into the solar market and will provide total solutions for roof-top solar system users. IKEA indicates that they will form strategic alliance with Hanergy, a Chinese thin-film solar company. In addition to the solar system installations in its own worldwide branches, the company also offers residential and commercial solar power systems. According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, there are two indicators of IKEA branching out into the solar market. One is that it may change the existing solar channels and another is that PV distributed market will become the mainstream.

Based on EnergyTrend’s investigation, IKEA has been observing the roof-top market for the past three years. The company believes that renewable energy will be the major supply for residential and commercial energy in the future, thus they have started to evaluate the possibility in entering the solar market three years ago. Meanwhile, they have been looking for partners to work with within the Chinese market. Judging from the data announced this time, the cost for the total solution provided by IKEA in UK was approximately US$9200/3.36kW. EnergyTrend estimates that module price may be between US$0.54-0.55/watt, which shows IKEA’S strong procurement. Retailers like IKEA may become the regional trade centers for modules in the future. Furthermore, with the additional technology consultant and installation services being provided, it’s likely for companies applying EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and construction) or the online trading systems under development to be replaced by these types of retailers.

IKEA plans to extend the business model to the entire Europe within a short period of time, which shows that roof-top market has become the mainstream in Europe. As indicated by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s data, 53% of the solar panels in the European market have been used on residential and commercial areas in 2012, while 58% of the market demand in UK came from residential and commercial market. Moreover, subsidies to ground-mounted projects are likely to be ceased. In EU PVSEC this year, many companies have proposed self-consumption solar solutions, which shows that PV distributed markets have become the mainstream in Europe.

Judging from spot market’s overall performance, Chinese polysilicon price remained between RMB132/kg-RMB135/kg. Since anti-subsidy didn’t have much impact on the market price, manufacturers were not willing to lower the price. Thus, last week’s average price remained flat. For silicon wafers, the average price for multi-si wafers remained steady. However, the price for mono-si wafers was slightly higher than that in the domestic market due to the increased demand from Taiwan and Korea. Last week’s average price for mono-si wafers was US$1.198/piece, a 0.34% rise. For cells, due to the increased demand from the Chinese domestic market and the high utilization rate for most of the manufacturers, last week’s average price increased to US$0.392/watt, a 0.26% rise. For modules, the utilization rate for first-tier manufacturers remained high. In addition, the release of the policies drove the demand in the domestic market which caused last week’s average price to increase to US$0.675/watt, a 0.15% rise.

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