With an area of 60,000 m2 and capacity of 5 megawatts, the solar plant in Borås is the largest ever installed on a rooftop in the Nordic region. Behind the investment is real estate investor NREP through its logistics arm, Logicenters, and tenant Speed Group. Solkompaniet has been commissioned to erect the plant and installation of the solar cells has now begun. In addition to meeting the property’s electricity needs, it is estimated that the plant will contribute with 2.6 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity to the grid. The rooftop plant will be by far the largest in Sweden.
According to the Swedish Energy Agency’s statistics, only one solar plant with a capacity of more than 1 megawatt was built in Sweden in 2019. Said plant was built on the ground and has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts. A plant is now being developed which is more than three times this size – the largest rooftop solar plant in the Nordic region. In order to push the transition to renewable energy, Logicenters – the real estate investor NREP’s logistics branch – and its tenant Speed Group are using the rooftop of the 83,000 m2 logistics facility in Viared, outside Borås. It is estimated that the solar cells can produce 4 million kilowatt hours annually, which is equivalent to the annual electricity demand for 1,800 all-electric cars.
“The roofs of large logistics facilities are the ideal location for installing solar plants. Therefore, it feels important that, as developers and owners of logistics properties, we are at the forefront of solar electricity production on our rooftops. We have a number of ambitious sustainability goals, one of which is to operate all our properties using renewable energy. And the demand for solar electricity is high from both companies and individuals – something which we can now fulfill. This facility will meet the tenant’s electricity needs on an annual basis, contribute more renewable electricity to the grid for the inhabitants of Borås to use and can save the environment up to 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year”, says Matthias Kettelhoit, Head of Logicenters at NREP.
During 2020, electricity prices have been 40 percent higher in central Sweden than in northern Sweden. It shows very clearly that we have a lack of transmission capacity and too little electricity generation south of the Dalälven river. This means that solar electricity, when it is developed on both roofs and in solar parks, can make an important contribution to the demand for electricity during the summer months in central and southern Sweden.
“The large solar plant will help to meet the increased electricity demand for electricity in southern Sweden with locally produced renewable electricity. An important contribution to the transition to a completely renewable electricity system”, says Johan Öhnell, chairman of Solkompaniet, which will build the plant during the autumn.
The energy tax – an obstacle to widespread solar production
There is great potential to produce solar energy in Sweden. At the same time, current energy taxes penalise those installing large solar plants. Companies generating solar power on their properties are taxed on the electricity they generate when a solar plant exceeds the power limit of 255 kilowatts. The government has recently proposed raising the limit to 500 kilowatts, but the Borås plant is ten times that size. The companies behind the solar plant in Borås have the capacity to contribute electricity from renewable energy sources – but are calling on the government to rethink and remove the limit altogether.
“NREP has a total of 2.5 million square metres of real estate in the Nordic region and is continuing to make climate investments such as solar cell installations on a number of rooftops. But the government has a heavy responsibility in expanding the financial incentives for this type of venture. An energy tax on self-generated solar electricity, used partly by the company itself and partly contributing renewable electricity to the electricity grid, is not the right way to go. We have a number of ambitious sustainability goals, one of which is to operate all our properties using renewable energy, but there must be an increased cooperation between various players in the community“, says Stefan Wallander, CEO of NREP in Sweden.
“Our major customers demand an action plan from Speed Group, in order to contribute to the goal of a maximum increase in global warning of 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. The installation of the solar plant is our single greatest step towards meeting our customers’ high sustainability requirements,” says Mats Johnson, CEO of Speed Group.
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