Finland to add more PV using community solar model

While in other parts of the world community solar is growing its market share, in Finland shared PV projects already represent 13% of country’s solar power production. The concept of generating solar power without buying your own PV system seems very appealing to the local energy consumers. It might well become one of the main driving forces for the Finland’s tiny solar sector.

Earlier this month, Helsinki-based energy company Helen commissioned the largest PV installation in the country to date, a 850 kW Kivikko solar plant. The installation is located on the rooftop of an indoor cross-country skiing hall in Finland’s capital Helsinki.

The PV installation in Kivikko is comprised of 2,992 PV panels that can be rented by Helen’s customers for a monthly fee of 4.40 Euros each. The company says that within two weeks of the plant’s commissioning, local energy consumers have already subscribed more than half of the solar panels.

The utility reimburses the subscribers for the electricity produced by their panels. The customers can monitor the panels’ electricity output online and compare it with their own energy consumption.

Each of the PV panels in the Kivikko installation produces approximately 230 kWh annually, that corresponds to about 11% of the average electricity consumption of a one-bedroom apartment in Finland. One customer can lease up to 10 panels, which in some cases can fully satisfy the annual energy demand.

Kivikko plant is not the first shared solar project in Finland. In March 2015, Helen commissioned a 340 kW Suvilahti PV plant, for the first time offering its customers a possibility to generate solar power without investing in a private PV system. According to the company, all of the 1,194 Suvilahti plant’s panels were leased out in a matter of days.

Kivikko and Suvilahti PV plants together produce 1,000 MWh of electricity annually, representing 13% of Finland’s solar power production. If Kivikko shared solar project turns out successful, Helen is planning to further expand its solar portfolio using the community business model.

"People who have acquired a designated panel have had a concrete impact on how electricity is generated in our country. If the Kivikko solar panels are sold out, we will build a third power plant in accordance with the same principle. Our customers will decide," said Helen’s project manager Atte Kallio.