Half of households are unaware that solar-generated electricity is cheaper than electricity purchased from utilities, according to a survey commissioned by Ikea.

In June 2014 Ikea completed the solar rollout to all 18 UK stores and has already installed over 1000 systems. However, the results of a survey it commissioned have revealed that more than half of households are unaware that that solar-generated electricity is cheaper than utility. The company estimates that solar costs £0.08p/kWh compared to utility electricity’s £0.135p/kWh.

Despite increased headlines on energy bill inflation and 60% of those surveyed stating they are worried about rises in energy bills, 95% of respondents have not considered solar to save on energy bills.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability, Ikea UK and Ireland, explained that there were three main barriers facing the adoption of domestic solar. Firstly, there is a misconception that solar is a prohibitively expensive option. Ikea is offering solar systems for £3,700, but found that 43% of respondents estimated the cost of a solar system at upwards of £9,000.

Secondly, customers are concerned about the complexity of the technology as well as the long-term staying power of solar companies. Yarrow explained: “We have unfortunately heard lots of stories of providers that have disappeared and so people are worried about what might happen in the long term.”

Finally, Ikea has found that a number of potential customers are concerned about the aesthetics of a solar array. “Solar panels are perceived as being quite ugly and I think that a lot of the earlier technologies were quite big, bulky and obtrusive – quite different from the sleek, thin-film technology that we have today,” added Yarrow.

Yarrow added that the 1,000 arrays installed are just the tip of the iceberg. “We know the British public want to reduce their electricity bills, and it’s great that more and more people are taking steps to cut down their home energy use. The next step for households to guarantee low bills is home energy generation.”

Toby Ferenczi, co-CEO of Hanergy Solar UK, who has partnered with Ikea on providing the solar systems said “considering the level of concern over the future of energy bills, it’s surprising that there is still such a lack of knowledge around the financial benefits of solar energy”.

Additional reporting by Peter Bennett