The following article was published in Dagens Industri 201103:
By investing in a solar park, companies can future-proof their electricity supply at a stable price, contribute to society’s energy transition and signal to customers that they are actively working towards greater sustainability.
– Companies have long been generous in putting their names on stadiums and sports teams. This is a new opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the environment and sustainability. It has a huge marketing value that can benefit the company’s business,” says Jonas Helander, acting CEO of the solar cell company EnergiEngagemang.
The expansion of solar energy in Sweden and especially in the world is moving fast. As a result, the price of solar cells has fallen sharply, while research and development has resulted in higher efficiency. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently named solar energy as the new king of the global electricity market in its latest report, which is not surprising as solar cells have many advantages over other methods of producing electricity. It does not run out, unlike coal, oil and natural gas. Solar power has minimal environmental impact after the construction phase, its operation is silent, the panels are unobtrusive and a completed PV system is virtually maintenance-free, keeping operating costs down.
Solar cells – the energy solution of the future
So far, discussions on solar panels have mostly focused on smaller installations that homeowners or businesses install on their roofs. Now there is an opportunity for companies to invest in larger solar parks in a simpler way, either fully or as co-owners.
– A company building its own solar park shows that it is part of something new and is taking an active role in the energy transition. There are also tangible benefits such as solar energy being the fastest and cheapest way to build new energy production. “Solar energy is a good complement to the Swedish electricity system, which consists largely of wind, hydro and nuclear power,” says Jonas Helander.
The price of electricity in Sweden can vary greatly and is determined by supply and demand in a market with several hundred players. This uncertainty can be costly for businesses. Having your own solar park makes the price much more stable.
– Many people are worried about the price of electricity going up and down. It is unpredictable and makes it difficult to plan your activities. With your own solar park, you secure part of your consumption at a long-term fixed electricity price because you know what the plant costs over time,” he says and continues:
– Through an arrangement with a solar contractor like us together with an electricity trading company, we can offer a long-term stable electricity price. This will benefit the company’s operations.
EnergiEngagemang has extensive knowledge and experience in building large solar parks. Among other things, the company has built Sweden’s largest solar park along the E20 highway outside Strängnäs. It consists of 4,600 solar panels and supplies electricity to housing associations within HSB Södermanland.
– This approach is particularly suitable for companies with many smaller branches or who have operations where it is simply not suitable to build solar installations on an existing roof. “There is plenty of low-productivity agricultural land lying fallow that could be used to build a large solar park,” he says.
High PR value of solar park
For a company, a solar park has a high marketing value that can boost business.
– Building a solar park along a highway creates a visual impression for passers-by. It will be like a big billboard showing that the company is part of the energy transition to a more sustainable society and that it is working for the future,” says Jonas Helander.
Although a photovoltaic installation requires a high initial investment cost, the cost is expected to be recovered in a much shorter time than the lifetime of the solar farm.
– The payback period for a solar farm is just over 10 years, but the farm is viable for at least 35 years. What you should keep in mind is that if you do nothing at all, you will still have the same uncertain electricity costs. Passivity has a price too. A photovoltaic system can provide security for a company,” he concludes.