Solar energy has a lot of potential – the earth receives about 800 million terawatt-hours of solar energy annually, over 5,000 times more than the global primary energy consumption. It is estimated that solar electricity will be competitive with other energy sources already during this decade in several countries – even in terms of the wholesale price of electricity.
Solar energy production capacity has also grown rapidly. In 2012, about 30 gigawatts of solar electricity were installed globally; at the end of the year, the total capacity was about 100 gigawatts. Installation of an additional 35 GW is expected this year. The biggest markets at the moment are Japan and China.
Jump-starting solar energy production in India
We have started solar energy production in India by acquiring a 5-megawatt solar power plant in the state of Rajasthan, in north-western India. The power plant’s nominal peak capacity is 5.4 megawatts and its annual production is approximately 9 gigawatt-hours.
– India is one of the most interesting countries for solar energy development. Apart from the naturally favourable geographic location, India has ambitious plans for solar power both nationally and at the state level, says Matti Kaarnakari, Managing Director, Fortum India Pvt. Ltd.
Acquiring an operating plant is the first step in launching solar electricity production in India. We are currently studying opportunities to also be part of so-called greenfield development, i.e. development and construction of new PV power plants.
Biggest solar park in the Nordic countries in Arvika
We are also a partner in Glava, the biggest solar panel park in the Nordic countries, located in Arvika municipality in Sweden. The park has produced solar energy for Fortum’s electricity grid since 2009. The solar park has a capacity of 210 kW and annual production in excess of 200,000 kWh.
Solar kits in Finland and Sweden
In the Nordic countries, we sell solar kits to consumers and businesses in Finland and Sweden; the kits include e.g. solar panels, an inverter, a home visit and installation. Fortum will also buy any surplus electricity produced by the consumers.
Cafe Carusel in Helsinki is using Fortum’s solar energy kit. Carusel’s solar panel system includes a total of 80 245-W panels, and the system’s total nominal capacity is 19.6 kWp (kilowatt-peak). Most of the panels were installed on the rooftop of the cafe, but a few panels will also be placed on the terrace.