Application Submitted In Denmark For 100 MW Solar Park

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Danish industry site Energy Watch has reported on an application submitted by Denmark’s Bregentved Estates to local municipal authorities for a 100 MW capacity solar park to be located in Faxe municipality, Sjælland, eastern Denmark.

Photo Credit: Adam Mørk / 3XN.
Rooftop PV provides power to UN City in Copenhagen, but utility-scale solar power is lacking from the country’s renewable energy mix. Photo Credit: Adam Mørk / 3XN.

To be clear, 100 MW is a significant capacity for a solar park — indeed it would easily earn itself a position in the list of Europe’s largest solar farms. It’s an especially bold ambition on the national level, since Denmark’s current largest solar installation is just 2.1 MW. That park is the Danfos Solar Park, which was brought online in February 2014 and remains the largest PV plant in the Nordic region. Accolades aside, at 100 MW, the proposed park could supply some 28,500 Danish households with power.

In fairness, the Sun isn’t the first thing one thinks of at the mention of Denmark, and nor is solar power for that matter. The small Scandinavian country is a true champion in the wind industry, with close to 40% of its electricity consumption provided for by wind alone in 2014, and the highest level of installed wind capacity per capita on the planet.

Looking at the graph below, showing development of Danish energy consumption by source, it’s plain to see where Denmark has concentrated it’s investment in renewable energy — wind power  (both onshore and offshore). But in the last few years solar power capacity has expanded; the subtle beginnings of a trend in the making.

Danish energy consumption by sector via

Context on Solar Development & Potential in Denmark

So what’s the outlook for solar development in Denmark? A complicated question to be sure, but there are grounds for optimism.

To begin with, consider annual solar radiation in Denmark. At a latitude of 56° north, Denmark’s clearly not a Sun-soaked nation. But remember, solar radiation penetrates clouds, and with today’s technologies, PV is absolutely a valid means of energy generation, even in Scandinavia. Reliable measurements estimate Danish solar radiation at approximately 1000 kWh per m2 per year for a horizontal PV surface; and slightly higher (1200 kWh) for south-facing, inclined panels.

Average solar radiation across Denmark shown in kWh / m2 per year. Image Credit: Dansk Solcelle Forening.

Denmark has in recent years seen big development in its solar capacity, too. The greatest jump came in 2012 when 406 MW were installed. Back then, an especially favourable national net-metering scheme was in place which incentivised solar investments. In fact, solar PV installations operating under the scheme reached grid-parity in 2012 at €0.30/kWh.

Unfortunately, that net-metering scheme is no longer in place, and other (related) disruptions to Denmark’s PV industry also emerged between 2013 and 2014, to the extent that in 2014 only 48.5 MW of capacity was added. This meant that Denmark’s total installed PV capacity at the end of 2014 was around 610 MW, and PV generation was 597 GWh — a figure corresponding to some 2% of Danish electricity consumption. None of these figures have shifted too greatly through 2015.

It’s worth noting though that the vast majority of current PV installations are small: 73% of the total photovoltaic cell capacity in Denmark by the end of 2014 comprised of units ≤ 6 kW, while utility-scale is virtually non-existent with just 38 MW supplied by plants >400 kW.

Largely owing to its pioneering of wind power, Denmark has fostered a highly capable energy sector with a strong energy technology and knowledge base. Assets such as these would be indispensable in managing future introduction of significant amounts of solar capacity into the national grid.

Denmark also has an industry PV association, Dansk Solcelle Forening, established in late 2008, and with about 75 members, the association has provided the emerging PV industry with a framework, common voice, and is introducing ethical guidelines for its members. Dansk Solcelle Forening has been aiming for 5% of the electricity to come from solar PV by 2020, however, they are revising that target, and lobbying for greater investments to be made such that the nation builds on its solar potential.

Lastly, many national energy targets for the period post-2020 are up for discussion in the coming two years. This opens up opportunity for solar to get a share of whatever fresh renewable policy the government choose to pursue.

All of these points serve as positive indicators for the future of Danish solar industry. Indeed, many of Denmark’s characteristics come together to represent a solid foundation upon which increased solar power capacity could be built off.

Of course context is critical in fostering growth. This is especially true in the case of renewable energy proliferation, where national policy and government will are critical nutrients. So while it remains uncertain how Danish policy might evolve into something more complementary for solar investments, there remains a significant unknown.

If nothing else, a 100 MW solar park would be a terrific flagship project for Denmark’s solar industry, not to mention Europe at large. Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait and see what’s next for the Bregentved Estates’ application. But we’ll be keeping an eye on the project for more details.

NB. A useful resource on this topic is the IEA National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Denmark 2014, which is available from the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme.

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16 thoughts on “Application Submitted In Denmark For 100 MW Solar Park

  • ” with close to 40% of its energy consumption provided for by wind alone in 2014,”

    Um, wasn’t it 40% of _electricity_ and NOT total energy?

    • Allow me to show you a( suberb way to earn a lot of extra money by finishing basic tasks from your house for few short hours a day — See more info by visiting >MY____$DISQUS$____ID;}

    • Good spot! Danish wind supplied a 39.1% share of electricity consumption in 2014; not total energy consumption (unfortunately)! We’ll make a amendment to the article.

      • Thanks, William. It’s nice to see authors checking back on the comments their work receives.

  • The solar park is in Zeeland. The map suggests they could get 10% more sun in Jutland. But Zeeland is where the people live.

    • Zeeland has about 2.5 mill. The rest close to 3 mill. Generated BNP is roughly the same. The electricity grid is connected with Norway, Sweden and Germany. The only place not worth consdering is the island of Bornholm. The power cabel to Sweden tends to be rip apart by ships ankers a few times each decade

  • Holy snack balls. I want to know what happened between 1996 and 1997, where Denmark cut close to 10 TWh of its energy consumption.

    • Are you looking at production rather than the consumption black line? Production exceeding consumption would be sold off to other countries.

      • Oh yup, you’re right. I was looking at the wrong. That explains some things.

  • Why is consumption expected to increase in the future? It seems to have a downward trend today.

    • EVs?

      • Yes, EVs are big, in Scandinavia transportation is a big sector for energy usage. But also heat pumps: although heat production is relatively efficient with district heating, combined turbines (electricity and heat), eventually much of that will be converted to heat pumps as well.

        That is, the whole electrification of energy sector, which increases efficiency, and increases share of electricity of total energy.

      • Might be because prices are going down?

        • Only if a lot of people are using less electricity than they’d like to.

          I doubt that’s the case. In the US and Germany the monthly electricity bill is around $110. I wouldn’t think many people would be suffering in order to save $10 per month.

Comments are closed.