Are Ikea’s solar panels a good deal?
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Swedish home furniture giants Ikea are to begin selling solar panels in all 18 UK based stores within 10 months, following a successful trial period, but do they offer value for money and should you even consider buying solar panels from a furniture store?

Firstly, their price of £5,700 for a 3.36kW system, which is the size for a typical semi-detached property, is expensive. Comparing pricesfrom accredited solar installers shows that a larger 4kW system can now be installed for under £5,000, and a 3kW system for as low as £4,000. Though Ikea have to start somewhere

On the plus side the investment figures still stack up, with Ikea’s smaller 3.36kW system, on a south-facing roof in Southampton, forecast to earn £770 each year from the Government Feed-in-Tariff (guaranteed for 20 years) – meaning you can recoup the cost within just 7 years.

Though installing the same size system for a lower cost from an accredited solar installer makes more sense and will give you a shorter repayment period.

From a personal opinion, Ikea are making a smart move, they have seen the Solar Panel business on the rise and must be expecting a big boom soon like the rest of us. Hence the first UK solar advert airing last week and the noise Solar has been making in the news recently

Home improvement stories from Easter’s past…

March 2010 and home builder Crest Nicholson called for an Easter DIY amnesty.

With 200,000 DIy related injuries sustained every year in Britain (source ROSPA), the developer was urging people to down tools and take a look at it’s new waterside development in Kings Lynn.

They went onto report how a quarter of men in the UK have had an accident whilst doing DIY – one in ten of them needing hospital treatment.

The average cost of a DIY ‘mistake’ was around £900 with most mis-haps involving power tools and ladders.

If you’re feeling a little deflated after that news – spare a thought for 1,500 people that admitted to letting wallpaper get the better of them.

And the theme of costly mistakes and injuries seems to run through the last few Easters.

April 2009 and experts were advising caution ahead of the year’s most prolific spending weekend on DIY.

This time, TV Handyman – Handy Andy – was warning homeowners to be safe by making sure they wore protective goggles and gloves etc where necessary. Tying back long hair and taking regular breaks were also advised.

For larger jobs like loft conversions, experts warned of the dangers of ignoring home insurance before starting major jobs. A mistake could prove very costly if you found you were not covered, after the roof had burnt down etc. It was recommended that you check your accidental cover in particular and any limits of the amounts of payments in the event of a claim – especially if the damage is caused by yourself.

Meanwhile, back in 2008, the DIY stores and tradesmen – particularly kitchen and bathroom fitters, were warned of being unprepared for the rush in sales that Easter traditionally brings, with Easter being so early that year.

The Spring Bank Holiday break often saw homeowners embarking on major home improvements or looking to move. Suppliers and retailers were warned of the effects to their businesses by not having enough stock in place for the Bank Holidays.

Local suppliers and improvement companies were also missing out in 2008, as homeowners turned to the Internet unaware of the local companies around them.

A quick ride on the ‘Easter Tardis’ to 2001 reveals a different side to the Easter DIY news as home insurers reckoned Britons would spend more than £2.5 billion on DIY that Easter – the population spending in excess of 100 million hours over the Easter holiday painting, decorating and carrying out other improvements around their homes.

One in Three of us were planning some DIY that Easter.

The average DIY spend was estimated to be £399.

The average DIY’er was going to spend 17 hours doing home improvements.

Two in five people who started DIY admitted it resulted in arguments between themselves and their partners.

In 2001, a fifth of people who did some DIY were expected to injure themselves.

One in twenty DIY jobs were going to do more harm than good to the properties concerned – both in terms of increasing overall values and remedial work required by professionals.

Insurance company Aviva reckoned that only half of homeowners had accidental cover which would have covered them for any damage caused as the result of a botched DIY job.

Although the current financial climate may turn many towards DIY, it’s always worth getting the experts in if you want a professional job, that’s insured and guaranteed, and will add value to your property, without any risk to life or limb on your part.

For many, the first step to starting any home improvement is to get a quote for the likely costs involved.

The Home Improvement Quotes family of websites can help you get an instant online quote, in minutes, without the need for any salesman to call on you at home, taking up your valuable Easter holidays.

photo credit: robert gaal