September 12, 2023
Get an insider's look at Norway's groundbreaking venture into large-scale solar energy. Join us for an exclusive interview with Henning Leifsen, VP of projects Norway at Solgrid.
Norway's first ever large-scale PV plant, which will be connected to the grid in autumn 2023, is located in Stor-Elvdal municipality, half an hour's drive south of Koppang.
Solar power currently accounts for a small portion of Norway’s overall power production. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has suggested in its long-term electricity market analyses that solar power will generate 7 TWh by 2040.
In May 2022, history was made with NVE granting its first license for a solar power plant in Norway. We sat down with Henning Leifsen, Vice President of Projects Norway at Solgrid, the company behind the development of the plant, to shed light on its significance and the journey towards making it a reality.
The Furuseth solar power plant is an important milestone for Norway's renewable energy landscape. The plant has a capacity of approximately 7 MWp, which can supply around 320 households with electricity, depending on their energy consumption
During the development of the project, Solgrid faced its share of challenges, especially as Furuseth is the first solar power plant in the country.
Henning said that discussions with grid companies were sometimes complex as they needed to understand how the solar power could be efficiently integrated into the existing grid. However, through careful alignment and technical evaluations, these issues were resolved.
The spotlight is undoubtedly on Solgrid as it embarks on this landmark initiative in Norway's energy landscape. As Henning puts it, "It is a challenge to develop the first PV plant in a country, and at the same time enormously important to set the course for what the solar industry will look like in the years to come".
The personal aspect of this journey comes through when Henning talks about the responsibility they felt while being watched by many. The success of this pilot project sets the tone for Norway's energy transition to solar power.
Its strategic location comes with its advantages, benefiting from cost-effective grid connections and its proximity to a transformer station, ensuring efficient power transmission.
Norway gets 96% of its electricity from hydropower. This helps to regulate the grid and is ideal for combining solar and wind installations. The important thing about solar is that you can also cap the maximum output and still regulate what goes into the grid.
In this case, Norway's cold weather is actually an advantage! In fact, cold climates increase the efficiency of solar panels.
What's more, getting into solar power offers a number of opportunities in a relatively untapped market.
The Furuseth project has far-reaching implications for Norway and the Nordic market. As a learning project, it will provide valuable insights into the integration of solar power and lay the foundation for further renewable energy projects. Norway's heavy reliance on hydropower will benefit from solar power, which offers improved grid regulation and diversification of energy sources.
Developing greenfield solar projects in Norway presents unique challenges. The country's rugged landscapes and rocky terrain require extensive site screening and preparation. In addition, the existing grid infrastructure often needs to be upgraded to accommodate the increased demand from new developments.
The implementation of Glint Solar's software was a pivotal moment for Solgrid. It introduced a structured, systematic approach to land screening for greenfield solar projects, enabling them to identify critical areas and effectively address the challenges they pose. The software not only identifies grid locations, but also provides a deeper understanding of the terrain.
Solgrid uses the software throughout the project lifecycle: feasibility assessment, site selection and detailed site evaluation. The software enables quick assessment of new project proposals based on solar irradiance, terrain, shading data and more. It helps to identify sites with minimal environmental impact and helps to gather key data for informed decisions during the planning and design of solar installations.
Solgrid's future remains bright, with a 2GWp portfolio and expansion into new markets. With a dedicated team and Glint Solar in their toolbelt, they've achieved a 2GWp portfolio across Norway and Sweden. Congratulations, Solgrid!
Want to explore the transformative potential of the Glint Solar software for your own solar ventures? Book a free trial with us!