Nyhet | 2016-09-28 | 12:52

The potential for centralized photovoltaic systems in Sweden

Master of Science thesis by Rebecca Karlsson and Eva Nilseng, Industrial Engineering and Management, Industrial Management at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Supervisor at Vattenfall: Elisabet Wahlstedt.


Considering the long term target set by the Swedish government of having an energy system based exclusively on renewable sources, the potential for different renewable sources needs to be investigated. When analyzing the sources used for electricity production in Sweden today, solar PV represents a very small share. This relatively small share also mainly consists of grid-connected distributed PV systems, and to analyze the possibilities of making solar energy a larger share in the electricity production in Sweden this study will focus on grid-connected centralized PV farms. The main purpose of the study is to identify the potential for grid-connected centralized PV systems for large scale production in Sweden. This will include an identification of the most important key factors influencing the profitability, an investment calculation to be aware of the profitability, a prediction of the future development of the PV industry in Sweden and lastly the main challenges that the PV industry is facing. 

To conduct this study a collaboration with Vattenfall Vind AB has been made, where a case study based on three specific locations has been implemented when analyzing both the profitability and the key factors. These three cases are based on places where Vattenfall has existing wind farms or has assigned for upcoming ones. These areas could be seen as a potential benefit since the company already has started to inspect the land area, and that wind and PV farms might be able to share necessities such as infrastructure.

The results of the study mainly indicate that the PV industry most likely will continue to develop and grow, but the profitability of investing in grid-connected centralized PV farms does not look promising today or in the next coming years. This mainly due to low prices for electricity and uncertainties in the future development of the financial support policy. The location is also very important for this type of installation. There are places in southern Sweden with enough insolation, but these areas can be seen as limited. To make solar energy a larger share of the electricity production in Sweden in a profitable way today, more investments should be made in grid-connected distributed PV systems rather than grid-connected centralized PV farms. PV farms for large scale production might though be more profitable in the future when the prices for modules and inverters will decrease further and when the spot price increases.