THE FARMER WHO GROWS SOLAR POWER

Sweden He had been interested in renewable energy for a long time and in 2014 Mikael Saksi decided to install 2,000 square metres of solar panels on his farm on the outskirts of Norrköping, making him one of Sweden's biggest private generators of solar power. He now sells all the power he generates directly to Vattenfall.

Mikael Saksi has a lot of energy. The dentist, who has his own private practice in Norrköping, loves motocross bikes. He has all Kawasaki's factory bikes from 1973 to 1978, a Yamaha and a Husqvarna in his attic.

In his basement he has his own microbrewery. The beer is produced from his own hops and the filled bottles are stored in a bunker on the farm.

”No maintenance”
Another of his interests is renewable energy. When he and his family moved to Vikbolandet on the outskirts of Norrköping in 2006, he had the idea of building his own wind turbine.

"When I eventually made the decision in 2014, I went for a solar farm instead. It was too risky to build a wind turbine on its own, plus the mains connection was very expensive. In principle, solar panels don't need any maintenance and the connection was far cheaper," explains Mikael Saksi, as he shows me round the 2,000 square metre area where his 19 sheep usually graze among the solar panels.

"Having the sheep here is ideal, because that way I don't have to maintain the vegetation. The sheep have just been sheared, so they're a bit unsettled because they don't really recognise each other."

Mikael Saksi

Two generators
At the beginning of April 2016 Vattenfall became the first electricity company in Sweden to give retail customers the opportunity to choose solar power as the energy source for their domestic electricity.

Currently, Vattenfall does not generate its own solar power in Sweden. It purchases solar electricity, primarily from Italy and Belgium, but it has also initiated a collaboration with two Swedish solar electricity generators, one of which is Mikael Saksi.

In use for many years
Although Sweden's solar power capacity is modest (according to the Swedish Energy Agency, 36.2 MW of capacity was installed in Sweden in 2014), solar panels started being used in lighthouses and emergency telephones in the mountains in the late 1970s.

All Swedish lighthouses are now powered by solar panels and it is estimated that some 20,000 holiday homes obtain their electricity from solar power.

”Leisure farmer”
Mikael Saksi, who calls himself a leisure farmer, invested SEK 3.5 million in his solar farm with support from the Swedish Energy Agency.

The solar farm has an estimated operating life of 20 to 25 years.

"It really should be a requirement for solar panels to be installed on the roof when a new house is built. Everybody must do their bit for the environment. I'm doing this for the future of my children and grandchildren."

Solar power will light up Swedish homes

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