The opinions vary greatly when it comes to investing to solar energy (including electricity, heat and cooling) in Finland. Some regard solar investments as unprofitable greenwashing, some insist that solar energy could eventually solve the whole energy dilemma. It’s safe to say that the reality lies currently somewhere in between the extremes.
We see solar energy as an increasingly important part of the global and also Finnish energy mixes.
As the prices of both solar electricity and solar heat system installations are constantly in decrease, the future of solar energy seems extremely bright in Finland. Indeed, the profitability is no longer the greatest issue. Teresa Haukkala who in her doctoral thesis wrote about feasibility of solar energy in Finland stated that the highest barrier is not the profitability, but attitudes and suspicion.
At the moment, the feasibility of solar investments rely on where and how they’re applied. What energy form is substituted by solar energy? In other words, what are the alternative costs? Could solar be a complementary energy source bringing hybrid benefits? Intelligent analysis would also count in the indirect positive effects throughout the whole value chain from manufacturing to recycling.
Naturally, solar energy fits best when consumption meets the production profile. Such consumption would, for example, be hockey arenaand cooled logistics terminals. As the consumption profile makes or breaks the feasibility of the system, it is strange how the seemingly poor radiation conditions dominate the debate on the feasibility of solar energy in the northern latitudes. If the consumption peaks in the summer time, the nightless nights may provide some great conditions for solar energy production.
Solar system investment analysis should always be done with a focus pointed to the future. By making an investment now, the price per produced kilowatt-hour is tied to the current price level for the next couple of decades. In her presentation the head of FinSolar initiative Karoliina Auvinen uncovers the profitability of solar investments in Finland. A solar collector system replacing oil heating produces heat for the next 30 years with a cost of 3 euro cents per kWh. PV system installed to a commercial property makes it to 6 euro cents per kWh for the next 25. These figures make a strong statement about feasibility of solar energy in Finland…and yes, the market conditions are getting better at an incredible pace, making investments continuously more profitable.
The Finnish consulting company Pöyry has studied the business opportunities of solar heating in Finland and the findings support the consumption profile argument and also differences between geographical areas. The study also highlights the need to study cases individually as the feasibility is dependent on a number of factors.
We at Joukon Voima want to support the rise of this technology, without compromising profitability. We are looking for projects where solar energy truly is a competent solution. With our crowdfunders on top of our minds, we ensure that there’s enough profits to be shared, making the investment a rational choice. The solar energy project by Helen, Helsingin Energia, proved that there are willing funders for clean energy production. How much more could there be if the project was genuinely profitable for all?
original picture: Flickr.com / Marufish