The Swedish state utility Vattenfall plans to invest $100m in large scale solar energy generation over the next two years as it steps up its plans to become fossil fuel free “within a generation”.
The SEK1bn investment will go towards developing solar power plants, primarily large scale, throughout 2018 and 2019. The company said it intends to target sites where it can use existing grid infrastructure to help reduce costs.
In addition, Vattenfall said it plans to provide decentralised, small scale solar energy generation, which it said would “result in new energy services” for both its private and business customers.
Since 2016 Vattenfall has operated a 5MW solar farm at its Parc Cynog onshore wind facility in Wales, which generates enough power to supply 1,440 homes in the region.
However, today’s announcement marks the first concerted foray into the solar market for Vattenfall, which has generally focused on becoming one of the leading players in the European wind power market in recent years.
Magnus Hall, Vattenfall’s president and CEO, said solar was “an important supplement to wind power” as a renewable energy source, as the combination of the two delivered benefits such as combined grid use.
“We are now increasing the investment budget for solar power to satisfy our customers’ increased interest and demand,” said Hall in a statement. “From electricity consumers, who can obtain electricity from our future solar farms, but also from potential customers, who want to both consume and generate electricity from solar power.”
Vattenfall said it had applied for permits for several solar farms which will be combined with wind power, and is also looking into upcoming options for large scale solar in other countries, such as through the next auction rounds in Germany.
In the decentralised market, the firm also offers solar PV within InHouse services for companies and tenant-owner housing associations, as well as a leasing model for B2B customers in Germany and the Netherlands, it added.