Solar Energy on the Rise in Finland

September 01, 2011

Date: September 1st, 2011

Solar Thermal Energy:

Solar Energy on the Rise in Finland

On September 24 a new public swimming hall in Pori, Finland, will open. What makes the swimming hall special is that it has the largest solar thermal energy solution in Finland installed. SONNENKRAFT International has delivered the solution in close collaboration with the Finnish partners Alternative Solutions Finland Oy and Luvata. Finland is a market with potential.

The solar thermal installation in Pori is the biggest ever in Finland. Mounted on roof are 88 SK500-ECO collectors totaling 226 m2. In addition 80 m2 collectors are architecturally integrated in the cladding copper material on the south-facing façade. The solar thermal energy will be used for both pre-heating and heating the water in the pools of the swimming hall. By having such a big solar thermal solution installed the public swimming hall becomes very energy efficient.

“Normally large solutions are very efficient. Furthermore solar thermal energy has the great advantage of being produced right where it is being applied, which means that there is not any energy loss as is the case with energy from the regular grid. No other energy source can compete with this,” says Magnus Wallin, Managing Director of SONNENKRAFT International.

Statistics from European Solar Thermal Industry federation (ESTIF) show that the current capacity in Finland is 4.3 kWth per 1.000 inhabitants. By comparison the capacity in Sweden is 24.3 kWth and in Denmark 66.4 kWth. The current penetration of the Finnish market is fairly low, but the installation in Pori is evidence of a market on the rise.

“Finland is a market with potential. The demand for renewable energy is increasing in all of Europe and Finland is by no means an exception to this. So far government policies have not directly supported solar energy, but as soon as this happens the market could grow in a dramatic fashion,” says Magnus Wallin.

The municipality of Pori and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences have worked closely together in including an advanced solar thermal solution in the new public swimming hall, and in 2010 the university furthermore began educating specialists within renewable energy. This will boost solar energy in Finland in the coming years and be important to the development of the market.

Besides the solar thermal solution the swimming hall also has a 360 m2 photovoltaic installation. The photovoltaic solution will produce 45 kWp, while the solar thermal solution will produce 214 kWth – almost five times as much.

The Pori swimming hall project
Estimated costs: €17,5 million + €600.000 for solar energy equipment
Opening: September 24 2011
Expected visitors: 380.000 per year
Equipment: 50 m swimming pool, whirlpools and wellness area