HSB Södermanland is a large cooperative housing federation based in Södermanland County, which is South-West of Stockholm. It is responsible for the management of around 200 cooperative housing associations, and is itself owned by around 14,000 members.
In order to provide cooperative housing associations with access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity, HSB Södermanland has established ‘HSB Solcellspark’ – 35 hectares of solar energy production that corresponds to the annual electricity use for close to 5,000 apartments, and will eventually rise to 7,500 apartments. The Solcellspark is already the largest solar park in Sweden, and is continuing to expand.
The Solcellspark will have 200,000 available ‘shares’, which are currently only available to cooperative housing associations that are members of HSB. These shares correspond to units of energy production from the solar park.
Each ‘shareholder’ has the right to take part in the solar energy produced in the park. The price for becoming a unit holder is set at SEK 850 per share/unit, or a little over €80. Each share gives you 100 kWh per year for the next 30 years. In total, each share gives 3,000 kWh of energy at a guaranteed fixed price. Each cooperative housing association can buy shares equivalent to 90% of its current energy needs.
The 50,000 solar panels that make up HSB’s Solcellspark will provide 18,000 MWh per year, which is the equivalent to the energy needs of around 7,500 homes in the region.
HSB Södermanland has around 200 cooperative housing association members, all of which will be able to purchase shares in the Solcellspark. This will guarantee these homes access to sustainably sources energy at a fixed price. Contracts for supply are fixed at 30-years, meaning HSB members will have certainty about their electricity bills for decades to come. 30-years also reflects the expected lifespan of the current generation of solar panels.
As one of HSB Smembers said in a recent interview: “We believe that the electricity market will change in the coming years. Demand will increase and then the price will also increase to be able to meet demand. Being able to lock in the price at HSB for the next 15 years and then get a probably lower price for the next 15 years was a crucial part of our decision”.
Indeed, the goal of the project is not to maximise the financial return, but rather to provide benefits for cooperative housing associations. Indeed, the final goal is that 90% of the energy output of the park will be owned by the housing coopertives.
The project is to cost around SEK 100 million (€9.8 million)
It took 20 weeks to complete the solar park. The work extended over five calendar months, where different work steps took turns:
April 2020 – Fences around the park are built. Piling, cabling and assembly construction begins
May 2020 – Assembly work continues and the first solar panels begin to be installed
June 2020 – All groundwork is now complete, solar panels are fully assembled and wires are connected
July 2020 – All solar panels have now been assembled
August 2020 – The transformer stations are delivered somewhat delayed due to Coronan .
September 2020 – The electrical work is completed and the solar cell park is ready to be connected to the grid.