Solar power is an important supplement to wind power as a renewable source of energy. We are now increasing the investment budget for solar power in order to satisfy our customers’ increased interest and demand. Both electricity consumers who can obtain electricity from our future solar farms, but also from prosumers who want to both consume and generate electricity from solar power,” says Magnus Hall, Vattenfall's President and CEO.
There are two main areas for Vattenfall’s investments in solar power. First, development of large-scale solar PV farms, in particular in locations where Vattenfall is able to use existing infrastructure to reduce costs. In Parc Cynog in Wales, Vattenfall has previously built a combined wind farm and large scale solar power facility.
Second, Vattenfall will facilitate decentralised energy generation for both private customers and business customers. This will result in new energy services where Vattenfall provides solutions that enable customers to generate and consume their own solar generated electricity. In Sweden this is offered within services such as InHouse for companies and tenant-owner housing associations. A leasing model for business customers is offered in Germany and Netherlands. Moreover, Vattenfall is offering roof-top solar for housing societies and tenants in the so-called Mieterstrom concept in Germany.
Vattenfall recently took the final investment decision for large-scale solar power installations in the Netherlands for the currently existing plants in Velsen, Hemweg and Eemshaven. Another Dutch solar farm is already being constructed and will be combined with Haringvliet wind farm, which includes 6 turbines. For this combined renewable production park, construction is currently being prepared. The total capacity for these projects amounts to 50 MW.
Vattenfall has applied for permits for several other solar farms which will be combined with wind farms. The combination of the two brings several synergies, like combined grid use and the benefits of good relations with the authorities, land owners and other stakeholders. Vattenfall is looking into upcoming possibilities for large-scale solar in other countries, for example the next auction rounds in Germany.
The Parc Cynog solar power farm in Wales has about 18,000 solar panels with a total output of 5 megawatts, producing electricy for the equivalent of the household needs for 1,400 Welsh homes.
In addition, Vattenfall works with power purchase agreements with third party producers. This gives solar power producers a fixed price for their electricity generation during the duration of the agreement. The service reduces the financial risk, which could make it more interesting to invest in large-scale solar power as it lowers dependence on the electricity price trend for owners of solar farms.