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IKEA stocks its shelves with solar panels

BY HBSDEALER Staff

IKEA is taking a big step in pushing solar panels further toward the mainstream through the launch of a new test sale in Britain.

The retailer has begun selling residential solar panels in its Southampton store, with other locations in Britain due to start selling them in the coming months. IKEA has plans to eventually sell to other countries as well, though Britain was a strategic choice for a test program due to its moderate electricity costs and government incentives for promoting solar energy.

The panels, which are manufactured by China-based Hanergy, come in the form of 3.36 kilowatt systems and include in-store consultation, installation, maintenance and energy monitoring services. They are retailing for 5,700 British pounds, or $9,200.

The move is a first step of sorts in the retailer’s overarching initiative to bring renewable energy to the mass market.

"In the past few years the prices on solar panels have dropped, so it’s a really good price now," IKEA chief sustainability officer Steve Howard told The Associated Press. "It’s the right time to go for the consumers."

Howard added that consumers would recoup the cost through energy savings after approximately seven years.

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At HIRI conference: Housing on tap

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) has announced its upcoming 2013 HIRI Fall Conference, with this year’s theme set to focus on "Changing Home Improvement Attitudes & Behaviors."

Speakers will include Lisa Marquis Jackson, senior VP of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, who will deliver a session on “Clarity on the Housing Recovery.”

She will share insight on the fundamental drivers affecting both new construction and remodeling segments of the housing industry.

The conference will take place at the Crowne Plaza at Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center on Oct. 16, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

HIRI encourages industry professionals to attend. The registration form is available online at HIRI.org, and there are discounted rooms available at the hotel through Oct. 14 and 15.

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HCN Stock Watch: LL’s continued fallout

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lumber Liquidators was down 5.16% on Friday, following a surprise visit from the Feds related to its imported products.

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