Solar on the rise in Finland - strong market growth
With around 100 solar companies and an installed grid-connected PV capacity of around 20 MW end of last year the Finish solar market is still not huge. But with potential is high and 2014-2016 the country saw an impressive market growth of over 100 percent. “Our cool climate is favorable for solar energy production”, FinSolar Project Director and Researcher Karoliina Auvinen says.
Application LCOE prices as low as 3.3 Cent/kWh
Prices for grid-connected PV installations range from 1.000 Euro/kW (>1 MW) to 1,300-2.000 Euro (< 10 kW). PV offgrid-systems with battery range from 3.500 Euro/kW (>1 kW) to 5,000 Euro/kW (< 1kW). Auvinen calculated. Application LCOE prices for solar PV systems range from 3.3 Cent/kWh (including 25% investment grant, VAT 0%) for a commercial 900 kW PV system to 11 Cent/kWh (no subsidies, VAT 24%) for a small 3kW rooftop system in a house cooperative. Electricity purchase prices are usually much higer and go up to over 18 Cent/kWh. Return on investment (ROI) for solar PV ranges between 8 and 1%.
Tax deductions and grid fee exemptions
With investment grants and tax and grid-fee exemptions the Finish government supports PV. Solar electricity self-consumption is exemptend from grid fees and electricity taxes up to 100 kVA system size or 800 MWh/year production limit, 25-40% investment grants are available for municipalitities and companies, though the housing sector and state properties are excluded. Single houses can get household tax deduction from solar system installation work (approximately 5-10% from the whole investment price).
House co-ooperatives still excluded from incentives
Though house co-ooperatives are excluded from all incentives. “Our government does`nt have solar energy targets, but sets a strong focus on bio energy”, Auvinen says. Furthermore solar PV is excluded from the current feed-in tariff system. “Our next support scheme will be based on auctioning, where solar PV is likely to be competitive with wind power”, Auvinen says. As a huge opportunity she also sees to unlock the solar PV market for the house cooperatives, since 2 million people in Finland live in 80,000 apartment buildings. FinSolar tries to promote that through piloting virtual metering and micro-grid solutions. Though current legislation does`nt acknowledge house cooperative grids yet.
“Solar energy is already feasible in Finland, but market growth would improve with further support policies”, Auvinen states. As an example she refers to neighbouring countries. In Denmark the PV market already reached 791 MW by 2015, with support policies like premium tariffs and net-metering. The Swedish PV market was 85 MW by 2015, support policies includes tax returns and subsidies for residential battery storage. (HCN)
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