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Solar power generated by City of Helsinki buildings

Buildings of the City of Helsinki are shifting to solar power step by step. For the past couple of years, the City has been conducting a programme in which it installs solar power plants at suitable buildings. Today, solar power plants are operating at more than ten City sites.

The most famous of the City of Helsinki solar power plant sites is Finlandia Hall. The building’s roof received solar panels in 2016. West Terminal 2 of the Port of Helsinki, completed in 2017, produces the energy for the terminal lighting with solar power, generated with 156 panels installed on top of the new passenger boarding bridges.

A number of Helsinki schools utilize solar energy. They include the Hiidenkivi comprehensive school, the Keinutie elementary school and the Torpparinmäki comprehensive school. The Aurinkolahti and Latokartano comprehensive schools have had solar energy systems since 2009.

A solar power plant was completed at the Teurastamo (Abattoir) culinary and cultural centre earlier this year. It is placed on the meat wholesale hall of the Helsinki Wholesale Market. A solar power plant utilizing advanced power optimizers was installed on the roof of the Mellunkylä rescue station in May.

A typical solar power plant in Helsinki is a 40–50 kW plant. Solar power normally reduces a building’s electricity bill by 2–20 percent.

The new building of the Yliskylä day care centre in Laajasalo utilizes both solar power and geothermal heating, and the building will be largely energy self-sufficient. The Neulanen day care centre in Myllypuro, scheduled for completion in 2019, will also have solar panels.

The City of Helsinki actively promotes the use of renewable energy in new construction projects, both in conjunction with large renovations and new construction.

Solar power giants

Large buildings naturally have the biggest solar power potential, as their roof structures can be designed to be suitable for solar panels.

The first large solar power plants in Helsinki have already been completed. Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) completed a 475 kW solar power plant at its Pitkäkoski water purification plant in 2017, which was preceded by a 257 kW plant at HSY’s Viikinmäki water treatment plant, a 105 kW plant at HSY’s Vanhankaupunki water purification plant and a 117 kW plant at HSY’s Mikkelänkallio base in Espoo. The roofs of HSY’s head office building and HSY’s Sortti waste collection stations in Ruskeasanta and Jorvas also accommodate solar power plants. HSY is planning several significant solar power plants to be completed in the next few years.

Helsinki City Transport (HKL), a City of Helsinki municipal enterprise, announced a 480 kW solar power plant in April, to be installed on the roof of the Metro train depot in late 2018. According to HKL, the plant will be a profitable investment, which will pay itself back in 14 years. The Metro depot solar power plant will have power optimizers in each panel to boost efficiency, flexibility and safety in power generation.

A new deep-freezing building is being planned for the Helsinki Wholesale Market area. The building would have a 350 kW rooftop solar power plant.

Municipalities combine forces as solar power clients

The City of Helsinki participates in a 2016 joint municipal procurement programme for solar power systems. The supplier is GEF (GreenEnergy Finland Oy), which delivers systems on a turn-key basis either with lump-sum payments or with monthly installments.

Helsinki’s new City Strategy sets ambitious climate goals for the city: Helsinki should become carbon neutral by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent from 1990–2030. The achievement of the goal requires significant increases in renewable energy production.

City of Helsinki solar power projects; plant power output in kWp and year of completion

Completed solar power plants:                            
• Mellunkylä rescue station 42.4 kWp, 2018
• Helsinki Wholesale Market’s meat wholesale hall 65.6 kWp, 2018
• Yliskylä day care centre 25 kWp, 2018
• Torpparinmäki comprehensive school 27.5 kWp, 2017
• HSY’s Pitkäkoski water purification plant 475 kWp, 2017
• HSY’s Mikkelänkallio base in Espoo 117 kWp, 2017
• HSY’s Vanhankaupunki water purification plant 105 kWp, 2016
• HSY’s Viikinmäki water treatment plant 257 kWp, 2016
• Hiidenkivi comprehensive school 44.5 kWp, 2017
• Port of Helsinki, West Terminal 2, 50 kWp, 2017
• Finlandia Hall 47.7 kWp, 2016
• Vuosaari harbour 18 kWp, 2015

Before 2015:
• School and day care building Kanava 17.25 kWp, 2012
• Viikki Environment House office building 60 kWp, 2011
• Latokartano comprehensive school 10 kWp, 2009
• Aurinkolahti comprehensive school 20 kWp, 2009                         

Plans for new solar power plants:
• HKL, Roihupelto Metro train depot 480 kWp, 2018
• Neulanen day care centre 23 kWp, 2019
• Helsinki Wholesale Market’s new deep-freezing building 350 kWp

City of Helsinki climate action