Alight is set to start construction of a large-scale PV plant in Finland. Warren Campbell, the COO of the Stockholm-based independent power producer (IPP), told pv magazine that the 100 MW solar park in Eurajoki, western Finland, is one of the country’s largest solar parks in development.
“The first thing is it's a big project by Finnish standards,” he said. “It's certainly bigger than anything that's been built up until now.”
Construction is set to begin on the ground-mounted solar park in the second half of 2024, with commissioning scheduled for early 2026. Campbell said the project will cost €50 million ($53.1 million) to build. He said the company has equity financing “available” and ready, and it secured €150 million last year when European infrastructure fund DIF acquired a majority stake in it.
The solar project is expected to generate 107 GWh/year. It will be built in the Satakunta region, which records some of the highest radiation levels in Finland.
“It's a natural area to look at for solar,” Campbell said. “This municipality, the Eurajurki municipality, is where Finland's nuclear power is; they are the energy heartland of Finland. So we feel like it's a municipality that knows and understands energy and is particularly keen to continue to be a leader. They're very keen to take an early position in solar as well and support the environment.”
Finland’s zero-carbon energy sources represented roughly 40% of the country’s total energy end-consumption in 2021, with nuclear comprising 33%. Last year, it enacted the Carbon neutral Finland 2035 – national climate and energy strategy, with one of the policy aims including the “phasing out” of Russian fossil fuels and the shoring up of renewable energy sources.
Although Campbell could not say what kind of technology would be used for the installation other than it being ground-mounted, as it was early days, he didn’t rule out the possibility of bifacial panels, as they have been used in previous projects.
Alight does not have any power purchase agreements (PPAs) locked in for the new solar park, but Campbell said he is confident the company will secure 10- to 15-year contracts with large corporate and industrial customers. “We will be looking to sell with PPAs the production from this site before we make an investment decision,” he said.
Campbell added the news signaled the company’s long-held appetite to expand into Finland. “This is 100 MW. I'd say our ambition is to have 500 MW to a GW within the next 12 months, so we're actively looking for new projects and new partners in Finland,” he said.
Other solar parks under development in the country include a 216 MW renewable energy hybrid park in Alajärvi and Kyyjärvi overseen by Ilmatar Energy Oy, and a 500 MW solar power plant in Palloneva managed by ATP Palloneva Oy.
According to recent statistics collected by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Finland had 591 MW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2022.
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