Solar power at Santa’s homeland


On the world's biggest island, Greenland, temperatures as low as minus 40 degree Celsius prevail in winter times. If it is true what many children believe, the most famous of the 56.000 residents is Santa Claus, who is running a Christmas post office in Uummannaq. In summer times, his house in the northwest of Greenland can be visited. SolarWorld has delivered more than half a megawatt of solar modules to the ice-covered island in the last couple of years. The island´s only solar installer, Jesper Christensen from LED Solar Greenland, uses the SolarWorld modules in small, decentral solar power systems designed for electricity self-consumption.

Due to the worldwide lowest population density and the island’s sheer dimensions, the solar power systems spread over several hundreds of square kilometers. Jesper Christensen explains: “Despite the arctic winter with few sun hours a day, solar power pays off over the year. I install high efficient SolarWorld modules, which yield a good return even in weak light conditions and last long.” Not only does photovoltaic in Greenland represent a clean and affordable energy supply but also replaces the electrification of diesel oil, which cannot be imported on the island in the cold season.

Adding to the extreme temperatures on the island, there are strong polar winds, which only few solar modules are able to resist. SolarWorld modules are optimized in elaborated climate chamber tests. Furthermore, they can resist a high wind load due to robust aluminum frames and special security glass. In one of his projects, installer Christensen turned the disadvantage of wind load into an advantage by installing a solar/wind hybrid plant.

Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck, CEO of SolarWorld AG, is excited about SolarWorld modules reaching out into all corners of the world, supplying people with electricity: “The solar power systems in Greenland are probably the northernmost area where our modules are producing energy. Even in ice deserts, our modules shine by their longevity and their exceptional load-bearing capacity.”

Like no other place in the world, Kalaallit Nunaat, as Greenland is called in the language of the Inuit, is experiencing the effects of climate change. The ice is melting, the sea level is rising. The glacier fjords are shrinking. More and more residents adopt environmentally friendly energy supply, but the big emission producers are located elsewhere. Climate experts assume that the sea level will rise about seven meters due to the ice melt in Greenland. Torben Christoffersen, sales engineer at the Danish distributor Lemvigh-Müller A/S, which is a key supplier and distributor of SolarWorld PV modules in Denmark and Greenland, believes: “Photovoltaic is the solution to stop climate change and fulfill global climate targets. SolarWorld modules pay back the energy needed for their production within a very short time. After that, they produce emission-free electricity for decades. With its outstanding carbon footprint, SolarWorld has pulled away from competitors,” says Christoffersen.