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Denmark announces businesses are new growth market for solar energy

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013

The upcoming conference ‘The Solar Future: Denmark’ will focus on the potential for solar energy in Denmark. Experts expect that larger companies and businesses will become a new growth market.

After the explosive growth of solar energy in Denmark in 2012 under the favourable framework conditions for private households, experts now see a new growth market for photovoltaic (PV) systems: large companies and businesses.

"The government's new rules are more interesting for companies then for private households," says Esben Christensen, Head of New Markets at European Energy, a Danish company that develops, finances and builds solar and wind farms. The new rules, which were introduced in 2012, make it most worthwhile to use solar power at the same time as it is produced. Any excess power must namely be bought back for 2.20 kroner (30 Eurocents) per kWh.

"Companies with large office buildings can use the power that is produced on their own roof tops right away, while private homeowners typically work five days a week and are at home on the weekends. This market will therefore grow quickly in the next few years," says Esben Christensen, who at the international conference in Copenhagen will give a presentation on the potential of the Danish market for PV systems. However, he points out that the potential development will depend on how the new rules should be interpreted.

"We are awaiting ministerial guidelines," he says.

A great example of a large rooftop project is the head office Topdanmark, Denmark’s second largest insurance company in Ballerup. It is Northern Europe's largest rooftop solar power installation for commercial purposes with 3,042 solar panels (5.000 m2) and an annual capacity of 745 kWp. Their production corresponds to almost the annual power consumption of 200 households.

The strong political and social commitment to renewable energy in Denmark will be illustrated at the conference by the example of the forward-looking town of Skive, which has the country's largest municipal PV.

"In total we have around 80 major PV installations on almost all our municipal buildings like the city hall, the nursing home, schools and day care centers. When the project is completed this summer, we will have about 1.45 MWp solar power," says Michael Petersen, local team leader for energy savings. Michael Petersen, the moving spirit behind this project, is also one of the speakers at the conference in March.

Although Denmark has the highest electricity price in Europe because of the high taxes, energy consultant Anders Houmøller from Houmoller Consulting in Fredericia, emphasizes that it was not the high electricity price in Denmark that boosted the great interest in solar energy.
"The interest in ’green electricity’ can be traced back to the public debate in the 70'-80's when Denmark declined nuclear power. Instead we built coal fired power plants, which have a relatively high CO2 emission. Already at that time there was a great interest in renewable energy in our country," says Anders Houmøller, who at the upcoming conference will give a presentation on the development of electricity prices in Denmark.

Source: The Solar Future

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