Solar in Sweden

Installed capacity15.8MW

With its electricity generation currently dependent on nuclear and hydro, Sweden’s market for solar energy is very small. As in Norway and Finland, most applications of PV are in the domestic off-grid sector, where installations are sited in remote cabins, campers, caravans and boats.

In recent years there has been strong growth in the solar PV market, albeit from a very low base. According to the IEA-PVPS, a 29% increase in 2007 over 2006 was followed by a 27% increase in 2008. However, end-2008 installed PV capacity amounted to only 7.9 MWp. Of the total, 4.1 MWp was off-grid domestic, 0.7 MWp off-grid nondomestic and 3.1 MWp grid-connected distributed.

The stimulus for growth was the 70% investment subsidy available for the installation of PV systems on public buildings. The subsidy ran from May 2005 until the end of 2008 but the programme’s expenditure cap of 150 SEK was reached by end-2007 and growth during the following year was not as great as it could otherwise have been. Much interest, and subsequent implementation of systems, was evident in the major population centres of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

Following six months without financial support being available, Sweden introduced a new subsidy beginning 1 July 2009. It now applies to all domestic buildings (with a building permit) and the refund has been lowered to 60% (or 55% for larger companies). Additionally, a privately-generated feed-in tariff scheme has been initiated in the Sala-Heby region. Sala-Heby Energi AB, a power utility, is purchasing electricity from two PV power plants for grid-distribution for at least 10 years.

The market for solar thermal systems continues to grow, with some 18 or 19 000 m2 being added in each year 2006 – 2008. The total glazed area of solar thermal collectors in operation in 2008 was approximately 290 000 m2, giving an output capacity of about 202 MWt.

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