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IKEA to explore selling solar panels

Swedish home decor giant IKEA has announced plans to spend $77 million on research and development for retail solar panels, as well as other energy-efficient items.

In addition to solar panels, the company plans to use the funds to research and develop energy-efficient products such as energy meters and energy-efficient lighting.

The company currently sells a number of eco-friendly items, most notably a CFL light bulb “bar” with a wide variety of energy-efficient lighting options. IKEA plans to invest funds into green product companies that already offer commercial prospects, according to CleanTech Group, a sustainable business financing group that is working with IKEA on the research initiative.

In all, the program, dubbed IKEA GreenTech, will focus on five product areas in all – solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency and water saving and purification.