The emergence of smart energy solutions is boosting business around the world. Finnish Smart Energy scene is pushing renewables while exploring, more and more, tailor-made hybrid solutions.
The Finnish Smart Energy ecosystem may offer some surprises, too. For instance, solar power is a lot more efficient here than one would think just by looking at the map. In fact, Finland’s annual solar heat production is only about 20% smaller than that of northern Italy, with annual solar irradiation levels that are on par with Germany.
“The total solar power capacity in Finland is estimated to be 240 MW in 2020,” Sari Toivonen, Senior Advisor at Business Finland.
For example, the largest Finnish retail company S Group is doubling its solar electricity production, aiming to install about 15,000 solar panels to the roofs of its stores – with another 15,000 panel investment waiting in the wings. Upon reaching its target solar power capacity of about 20 MW, S Group will be the largest solar electricity utilising company in Finland.
The individual solar power plants keep increasing in size, too: one threshold was crossed in November 2019, as the first solar power plant with a capacity exceeding 1 million watts was completed on the roof of Elo Shopping Centre, located in Ylöjärvi. In total, 3,186 solar panels were installed on the shopping centre roof.
Karoliina Auvinen, Senior Expert from Finnish Environmental Institute, believes that, moving into a more sustainable future, the building owners are among the key actors. What is needed, however, is the hassle-free delivery of hybrid energy solution packages – to take care of, say, installation, maintenance and bureaucracy for the owners.
Auvinen offers an example: a ground source or exhaust air heat pump system is a great match to solar panels, as solar panels can provide electricity for the heat pumps.
“If this kind of hybrid energy solution would be available as a pay-as-you-save model, the energy renovation market would start to grow rapidly,” she believes, inviting companies to develop automation to collect and analyze buildings’ energy data and standardize hybrid energy packages and service contracts.
“Some energy services already exist in Finland for the large real estate owners, but there is definitely room for more turnkey energy service providers.”
The Finnish government is subsidizing energy renovations and the installation of electric vehicle charging units in housing companies with a new energy grant program, improving the opportunity for importing and introducing user-friendly services for building owners in Finland.
Sari Toivonen points out that for international companies, there is an “entire ecosystem” to tap into, in order to pursue clear-cut business opportunities as buildings become a genuine part of the global energy system.
“In addition to the strong tradition of expertise and innovation, Finland also has the legislative and regulatory framework in place which encourages experimentation,” she adds.
Bioeconomy and Cleantech