‘Large scale solar offers grid parity in Sweden’

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Swedish renewable energy company Eneo Solutions AB has secured the first power purchase agreement for a large scale solar power plant in its homeland.

The 20-year power supply deal, for which the company has signed a letter of intent, relates to a 10 MW solar park the company will begin building in November, with completion scheduled for June. The plant, the company said, will sell all the energy it generates to Swedish financial group Swedbank. “The electricity from the solar park will correspond to 30% of the electricity consumption across all Swedbank offices in Sweden, or the entire energy consumption at Swedbank’s head office,” Eneo said in a statement, without providing details of the energy purchase price.

“Ground-mounted solar parks from 10 MW and upwards can now hit grid parity in Sweden,” Eneo chief executive Harald Överholm told pv magazine. “The kilowatt-hour prices we can offer under long PPAs [power purchase agreements] are attractive to commercial and industrial customers – [they offer] parity today and a long-term lock-in effect that promises more savings going forward.”

Överholm said corporate solar PPAs are fully bankable in Nordic nations for large energy offtakers such as Swedbank. “The Nordic C&I [commercial and industrial] solar market is rapidly evolving, and we have a pipeline of PPA projects under negotiation of more than 100 MW today in rooftop and ground-mount installations.”

When built, the 10 MW project, which is also said to be part of Swedbank’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, will be the largest such installation in Sweden. The country’s largest solar park is currently a 5.5 MW facility built by power company Göteborg Energi. That project was announced alongside another 1 MW solar asset by the utility last month. Installations ranging in generation capacity from 800 kW to 7 MW are being developed by local municipality-owned utilities including Kalmar, Luleå, Falu, Trollhättan and Lidkoping.

Rooftop PPAs

Överholm added, in the commercial and industrial segment, for which the company announced its – and Sweden’s – first PPA in September 2017, the number of power supply deals has reached 40. “These are all long-term contracts,” the Eneo boss said.

Eneo business manager Hans Viken told pv magazine two years ago: “As long as the power produced is used behind the meter, PPA prices can reach grid parity.”

Last year was Sweden’s best in terms of solar energy development, with 180 MW added to the grid and with PV projects exceeding 1 MW in capacity accounting for 17 MW of that total.

The strong growth registered was due to a fall in PV system prices and because of an increased budget for solar rebates the government introduced last year, when the total funds reached SEK915 million ($98.2 million).