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New Helsinki plant to double solar energy production in Finland

As Finland warms up to the potential of solar energy, a new facility in the pipeline will become the country’s largest solar energy producer. It will see the installation of some 3,000 solar panels on the roof of a skiing hall in Kivikko, Helsinki. Plans for an even bigger plant in western Finland are also on the drawing board.

Suvilahden sähköaseman katolla on 1200 aurinkopaneelia. Kivikon hiihtohallin katolle niitä asennetaan liki 3000.
Helsinki Energy's rooftop solar power farm in Suvilahti proved to be a hit with consumers. Image: Petteri Juuti / Yle

Almost as soon as a new solar energy plant comes on stream in Finland claiming to be the largest of its kind, another comes to eclipse it. Currently the title of the largest producer of solar energy is Helsinki’s Suvilahti plant, which produces 340 kilowatts of power.

In summer a 420-kilowatt in Oulu facility will topple Helsinki from the throne, but another plant due to begin operations during the autumn will return the title to Helsinki; it will generate more than 800 kilowatts of electricity and will be located in Kivikko.

However, all of these plants will be dwarfed by another solar power facility on the drawing board in Nakkila in western Finland, where officials plan to produce a 10,000-kilowatt facility. Once it’s up and running, it’ll be the largest solar power plant in northern Europe. However in spite of its size and output in relation to existing plants, it’ll still produce only slightly more electricity than one wind turbine.

The new 800-kilowatt plant involves the installation of 3,000 solar panels on the roof of a skiing hall and become the largest producer of solar power in Finland. The Helsinki Energy Company Helen will rent the panels to customers, and overall the facility will produce close to one-third of the solar power currently being fed into the national power grid.

More solar panel rentals for consumers

Helsinki Energy Helen will follow the same model it adopted for its Suvilahti facility and rent solar panels to ordinary consumers. Customers will be billed 4.40 euros monthly per panel and once that sum is offset by a credit paid by Helen on the basis of energy production, they are left with a bill of 3.40 euros per panel.

According to the company’s estimates one panel will produce about 230 kWh of electricity annually, or 11 percent of the electricity used in a two-bedroom apartment.

More to come – if customers want

Helen has promised to build as many solar panels as consumers want to rent. And there does seem to be an appetite for moving to greener energy sources: consumers rushed to rent the plant’s 1,200 panels in just three days.

“We’ve already started planning for the third power plant and our customers will decide how soon it should be built. The reservations and sales of the Kivikko panels will determine our next investment,” said Helen project director Atte Kallio.

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