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Norway is becoming Solar Ready

EFO have launched the plan to secure Norwegian energy production using Solar Power. The objective is to hasten the development of solar energy on facades and roofs throughout Norway.

The calculations show that there is a greater potential for solar energy than what is currently used in the nation. "If our plan is to quickly reach the goal of being a 100% fully electrified country, we must lead the way and continue past regulatory obstacles," says CEO of Elektroforeningen, EFO, Frank Jaegtnes.

Thor Christian Tuv from the Norwegian Solar company Solenergi FUSen fully support EFO's launching of solar-ready buildings. "When new buildings are being constructed, and old rehabilitated, we must prioritize solar power. There must be a standard for environmental buildings in the future, ensuring that solar power will be a part of the design process. The combination of both esthetical and cost-effective buildings must be a prioritization."

A few years ago, EFO started the initiative for ladeklare bygg, which translates to charging ready buildings. The idea was to reduce cost and make it easier to install EV-chargers if the buildings were designed and prepared for it. Charging ready buildings later become a reality. "Today, our initiative for charging ready buildings is part of the regulations," says Jaegtnes. "With the launch of solar ready buildings, EFO is facilitating solar power systems in commercial buildings, housing associations and in the private market."

Solenergiklyngen (The solar energy cluster) recently presented a report which shows that the potential for solar power in Norway is approx. 200TWh. That exceeds the entire amount of energy used today. "If only a part of the potential is developed, it will cover our energy need. We must take advantage of this as soon as possible. The forecasts show a need for energy will increase along with the energy war in Europe. Therefore, solar power development needs to be highly prioritized," says Tuv. "We need to change the system to make it possible to share energy in buildings, neighborhoods and through the power grid, without being forced to pay fees for sharing the energy. The system, as it is now, is not sustainable for solar and other types of environmentally friendly energy production."

Establishing a professional industry group

EFO is establishing a group of industry professionals, who will be working on solving difficulties related to solar ready buildings. One of the key tasks will be to adapt the laws and regulations of today, to fit with the development regulations.

"During the design process we must create space for solar power on roofs and customize technical infrastructure. Our members have the professional know-how, and are well-prepared for the development of solar power," says Jaegtnes. Tuv shares the same point of view. "When new buildings are being created, the construction industry and the electricity sector must work together. The usage of solar panels should be maximized in new construction designs."

"Determining the actual potential of solar energy on the roofs and facades of business buildings, housing associations, and private homes will be a crucial component of our endeavor. Re-usable energy, such as solar power, should have a place in the energy system. We will be working hard to get past barriers. Some of these barriers are regulations based on how much energy you are allowed to feed into the energy system without extra fees. Another barrier is the limitations for distribution of energy between residents in housing associations," says Jaegtnes.

Having the same framework conditions

"The biggest challenges are related to how much solar energy we can generate for the grid, which places restrictions on the use of roofs," says Tuv. "With electricity prices of between NOK 6 and NOK 10 (10 NOK is approximately 1 Euro) per KWh in South-West and South-East Norway, regulatory obstacles must be removed. The solar energy industry must be given the same framework conditions as the power industry in the production of electricity to cover our growing energy needs. We expect that the Energy Commission (a working group set by the Norwegian Government) will equate solar power with offshore wind and hydropower as early as January 2023."

The Norwegian government has been too preoccupied with offshore wind and hydropower, that it seems as if they have forgotten about solar energy, and the fact that it is the fastest measure. The development of offshore wind and hydropower takes substantially longer. "The government must alter the regulations so that we may begin to fully utilize the potential of solar energy. We are moving at the speed of light to meet market demands in the solar energy sector. The laws must be updated for the twenty-first century to allow for energy sharing between buildings and neighbors without incurring large fees and increased grid costs," says Tuv.

Regulatory obstacles

The owners of commercial properties often only construct a portion of the roof due to regulatory restrictions. "This does not create the best possible energy use. Politicians and authorities must encourage the development of solar power to remove such barriers," says to Jaegtnes. "EFOs goal is to make Norway the first fully electrified society. Politicians and regulatory authorities must change their deep-rooted thought process about the grid model, so that we can become a proud, renewable society." Jaegtnes draws attention to the fact that EFOs members are lining up to construct solar systems. "An excellent example of a member who is prepared to provide entire solar energy systems to business customers is Solenergi FUSen. The progression is developing at the speed of light, and solar energy will be a crucial addition to wind power, which requires more time to grow. The development of solar power is a huge project with multiple, parallel, small, and large projects. They are happening at the same time, without harming the nature when the facilities are built on roofs and facades."

"We welcome EFOs initiative. It is important that the association leads the way in fronting solar technology to the authorities. We are ready to build out more roof areas and facades, but the legislation must be changed so that solar systems get the same conditions as offshore wind and wind power. Our technology is currently upending long-held beliefs about energy and will be essential in supplying our future demand for electricity," says Tuv.


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