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Elis Petäjä

Solar energy | unprecedented demand – the boom increases the risk of misinvestments

energy transition energiamurros aurinkoenergia vihreä siirtymä green transition solar energy

Most solar power plants have typically been smaller, small-scale power plants of less than one megawatt. Now the situation is changing, and solar parks of up to hundreds of megawatts are being planned in Finland.

Sweco’s Energy Specialist Elis Petäjä: ”Solar energy has started to catch up with wind power. On my desk alone, there are projects that, when completed, will increase Finland’s solar energy production by about 500 megawatts.”

Solar energy | Practical benefits

-Solar power is less dependent on location, such as wind conditions.

-Solar power is relatively simple to build, and the solar power plant is not visible in the landscape.

-A wind turbine requires solid foundations, solar power can be installed on the ground, roof or wall.

Not just extra energy

The demand for solar energy is growing almost everywhere, but especially in large properties. ”Solar energy is no longer seen as just an additional energy source, but as a real solution to the green transition and high energy bills.”

-Economic potential has been found both in industry and in shopping centers, where electricity consumption remains at a high level continuously.

-Today, all solar power produced can be used efficiently in processes.

”Solar energy has become a profitable investment for companies, housing companies and industry and a way to produce their own emission-free electrical energy.”

Exercise restraint

 ”The energy transition and huge demand have heated the solar energy market to the extreme. The panels are now sold by everyone who is able to do so.”

-Buyers don’t always get all the information they need to make a purchase decision.

-Ever-changing standards and requirements bring their own additional challenges.

”Now it is even more important than ever to reserve enough time for the procurement process and seek advice from an expert so that the end result meets the needs and complies with regulations.”

A solar energy system is always designed on a site-specific basis – these tips will make the purchase successful

Over the past 20 years, solar panel prices have fallen by about 89 percent.

Elis Petäjä, Energy Specialist at Sweco: ”Technology has evolved while prices have fallen. One panel can produce significantly more electrical energy than before, so the target amount of energy can be achieved with a smaller number of panels. The interest yield is even over ten per cent.”

When purchasing a solar energy system, consider at least the following:

Operation of the electrical system. When designing a solar energy system, the operation of the property’s entire electrical system must be considered, even after the installation of solar panels. When planning, it is also a good idea to prepare for future, for example about electric vehicle charging devices, and take electrical safety into account as the property’s electrical systems increase.

Dimensioning. A properly dimensioned solar energy system is the most economically viable. ”Sweco utilizes simulation in dimensioning, which takes into account, among other things: hourly consumption, local weather conditions, geographical location and building orientation.”

Impact on the property’s E-number. The E-number of a property is determined by the amount of purchased energy, so a photovoltaic system has a great impact on the energy class.

Load-bearing capacity and condition of the roof. Even a small number of panels can pose a risk to the roof or wall structures of a property. The condition and load-bearing capacity of the chassis should always be inspected before the investment decision and selection of the system.

Moisture technology and fire safety. ”A solar energy system is an electrical system, so its design always requires consideration of fire safety and precision in penetrations.”

Serviceability of the property. ”For example, in new buildings, the property’s other building technology should be placed on the northern edges of the roof of the house. In this case, the panels do not prevent the repair work or passage of the building services on the roof, and the building services do not limit the size of the solar power plant.”

Life cycle sustainability. The value of a solar energy investment depends on the lifespan of the solar panels. In order for the life cycle of the panels to be long, the system must be carefully designed.

With careful planning, comprehensive risk management is carried out, and regular inspections are carried out efficiently.

Elis Petäjä  is an Energy Specialist at Sweco Finland. 

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