Denmark: Farmers want to invest in solar energy systems

Danish Government made it even more advantageous, farmers can sell all produced electricity to the grid at a guaranteed price of 1,30 kroners (0,17 eurocents) per kWh during ten years.

COPENHAGEN - Since the Danish Government changed its subsidy rules for solar energy last December, solar energy systems have become an increasingly interesting and realistic investment for Danish farmers.

It is good business for farmers to invest in solar cells systems, both on the roofs of their – usually large – farm buildings or mounted in their fields. Special solar- themed information meetings organized for farmers all over the country have been very well attended in the last few months.

In 2012, the Danish Government made it even more advantageous to install larger solar cells systems, up to max. 400 kW, with the implementation of new rules under which farmers can sell all produced electricity to the grid at a guaranteed price of 1,30 kroners (0,17 eurocents) per kWh during ten years. Alternatively, they can sell only their surplus power. This way they can earn money on the electricity they produce for the grid and save money on their own consumption. Also contributing to the attractiveness of this investment is the fact that photovoltaic (PV) systems have become cheaper and now have a longer life span than before.

In fact, the solar industry in Denmark has reported enormous interest not only from farmers, but also from owners of camping grounds, neighbourhood communities and entire villages, housing associations and commercial enterprises.

"We expect to install many solar PV systems this year," says Bjarne Rasmussen, one of the founders of Drivhuseffekten, one of the largest suppliers of PVs in Denmark, specialised in the construction of large facilities for commercial enterprises and municipalities. His company has installed Scandinavia's largest rooftop solar power installation on the office building of Topdanmark, Denmark's second-largest insurance company in Ballerup, close to Copenhagen.

"At the moment we are working on large projects of in total 2 MW in two municipalities, Roskilde and Egedal, with rooftop installations on schools, day-care centres and office buildings," says Rasmussen, who underlines that systems in towns and cities do not necessarily have to be rooftop-based. "Housing associations could install PV arrays on carports and parking facilities." Bjarne Rasmussen will illustrate the possibilities for commercial enterprises under the new rules at the The Solar Future: Denmark' conference in Copenhagen on March 21.

Another expert who will give a presentation at the conference is the renowned solar analyst Pietro Radoia from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. He will show how international solar industry developments will impact the Danish PV market. He calls it "interesting" that Denmark has started to provide subsidies to larger PV systems for commercial enterprises. However, various players in the Danish market point to two problems. "We are still waiting for ministerial guidelines in order to know how to interpret the rules," says Kent Bisgaard from VE Energy, a small Danish PV supplier in Kolding, a company that focuses on farmers. Another problem is that in order to profit from the new rules, PVs have to be installed before the end of December 2013. "The municipal case-processing time for building permits of ground-mounted systems is very long, up to six months. So we hope the minister will extend the deadline," he says.

Minister for Climate, Energy and Buildings, Martin Lidegaard, will join the conference to explain the government's solar energy policy, providing more clarity about Denmark's plans for solar energy.

International Solar PV Conference
The international conference The Solar Future: Denmark' takes place on 21 March 2013 in Copenhagen. The focus of the conference will be the new conditions and opportunities in the Danish Solar PV market.
Venue: Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Amager Boulevard 70, 2300 Kbenhavn.
For programme and speakers see:

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