IKEA has initiated a new trend with retailing of solar panels in one of its UK stores. The customers can buy solar panels at a cost which includes installation.
Based on the customer feedback; IKEA plans to extend this product to its other stores in UK.
This is a very interesting trend where solar is being commoditized and is being sold without going too much in details of technology, the cell efficiency, etc.
Maybe soon we can see this being replicated in India maybe at Croma, Reliance Digital, etc; where consumers can walk in and select a solar panel for domestic use. The customer will be given options of technology, cell efficiency, inverter efficiency, etc.. Just like in any other product; the solar off-grid systems will have different price range depending on efficiency of the system. The end customer will be required to buy a package (entire solar off-grid system) along with installation cost. The options could range from Indian made systems such as Vikram Solar, to Emmvee Solar to foreign brands.
The company (solar panel manufacturer) can then send a technical team to the customer’s house for installation and demonstration.
Local Technical teams offering AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) services for washing machines, air conditioner, etc will be asked to upgrade their skills and offer similar services for solar off-grid systems as well.
3-5-7 year old solar panels can be exchanged for new panels as and when more efficient panels come in the market. The old panels can be sold in the rural / more price sensitive market (maybe like we saw old Maruti cars being sold in rural areas).
A small challenge can be the fact that solar off-grid systems may not work for all clients based on the shading and other issues at their rooftop.