Long-term sustainability is a central focus area when Komatsu Forest builds its new factory outside Umeå, in Sweden. An important piece of the puzzle in this work is the 19000m2 solar park on the roof of the factory, which will contribute to carbon neutral production. In connection with the summer solstice on 21 June, the installation became operational.
In Umeå and northern Sweden there are good conditions for using the sun as an energy source. The city had 2,053 hours of sunshine last year and solar radiation is high without it being too hot, which could mean energy losses.
“We have actively strived to find a long-term sustainable energy solution for our new property where solar cells are an important component in achieving a production that is CO2-neutral,” says Martin Ärlestig, Global Production Manager at Komatsu Forest.
The supplier of the solar park is Svea Solar.
“The green transition is a must, and the sun is an obvious part of the solution. We are very pleased to be a part of the fact that Komatsu Forest is now getting one of the largest solar parks in the Nordic region, and that solar energy production is also growing in northern Sweden. We are convinced that interest in solar energy will continue to increase now that more people see that it actually works here in our more northern parts of the country as well,” says Erik Martinson, CEO and founder of Svea Solar.
The solar park on Komatsus roof consists of 7154 solar panels covering almost 19000m2, i.e. about two thirds of the roof’s surface. This also makes it one of the largest in the Nordic region.
The solar panels tilt 10 degrees and stand in both an easterly and westerly direction to also capture the morning and evening sun. The stands for the panels are held in place on the roof of a total of 65 tons of ballast and a total of as much as 60 km of electrical cable rings on the roof. From the roof installation, the power goes down to 22 inverters located in the installation channel under the roof. The power is then diverted into a switchgear before entering the general power rail for the factory.
The impressive installation is estimated to produce 2,625,000 kWh of solar electricity, covering much of the total demand for the Komatsu Forest factory. With the new solar park, the surplus will also help to increase the share of sustainable energy production in the electricity grid.
Positive from a sustainability perspective is also that the solar cells have a long lifespan and are estimated to be able to produce electricity for over 30 years.
The official start of production at Komatsu Forest’s new factory is 9 August.