News |

Finnish solar capacity increasing, but still trails Sweden

Finland's solar industry has made a breakthrough in recent years, according to one professor in the field, but the sector is still some way behind that in neighbouring countries.

Aurinkovoimalan paneelit.
Solar power is on the rise. Image: Helen Oy

Solar energy is considerably cheaper now than it has ever been before, and that's causing an explosion in solar capacity. Even so, the country still lags behind the leaders in the field, such as Sweden and Germany.

"2015 was a breakthrough year," said Raimo Lovio of Aalto University. "Solar capacity multiplied many times over in that one year. Last year capacity doubled, and it will probably double again this year. The same rate of growth will probably continue for the next two years."

Exponential growth. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Lovio attributes the growth primarily to support from the Ministry for Employment and the Economy. Businesses get some funding to help cover the cost of investing in solar, with shopping centres and industrial producers particularly keen to install solar panels.

Farms and domestic customers are also keen to add solar capacity, according to Lovio, with the falling cost of the technology another incentive. A solar panel can, according to Lovio, pay for itself over the course of a decade.

Reduced cost

"Panels can be installed on roofs cheaper than before, and in any case the cost of electricity has remained relatively high," said Lovio.

Despite the rising capacity, Finland still lags behind competitors, with capacity at around 30 megawatts. That's well behind Sweden, with 200 megawatts, Denmark with 1,000 and the world leader Germany with 50,000 megawatts.

"In Germany some 8 percent of electricity is produced by solar, the average in Europe is 2.5 percent," said Lovio. "In Denmark it's two percent and Finland is below one percent."

In total Finland produces just under 40 percent of its energy from sources defined as renewable, with hydro-electric power and biomass topping the ranks of Finnish renewable energy sources.

Latest in: News


Our picks