Estonia’s largest solar plant built on the roof of an industrial building is located in Saku

The largest solar plant built on the roof of an industrial building in Estonia is located on the roof of Saku Brewery. The solar plant with a direct line was built on the roof of the factory by the energy company Alexela, which assumes all the risks of the electricity market during the contract period, i.e. 20 years. At the end of the contract, Saku Brewery will become the owner of the solar park.

The roof of Saku BreweryPhoto: Michael Notta

It is Alexela’s innovative business model, which for the client means reducing electricity costs and the CO2 footprint without investing money in the design and technology of the solar plant itself. “Saku Brewery is our first such large-scale cooperation project where we use a new approach. We invest in the construction of a solar power plant on behalf of the client, from its design, solution to start-up, and we sell electricity to him cheaper than the market price during the entire contract period,” said Aivo Adamson, CEO of AS Alexela.

According to Adamson, choosing such a solution to reduce the company’s electricity costs and footprint is extremely smart and economical. “Alexela is like an energy department store where, upon entering the door, the customer can choose a wide range of services and products for consumption. As a new product, a convenience solution has been added to our unique portfolio in the form of building solar plants, where the customer does not have to invest in the technology himself, we do it for him, and at the same time the customer pays a lower price than the market during the contract period. A versatile savings project from the customer’s point of view – to put renewable solar energy to good use for yourself, reduce green electricity by using your footprint with network fees and electricity bills.”

Savings of 17,000 euros per year

The solar plant installed by Alexela on the roof of the Saku Brewery is the largest solar park installed on the roof of an industrial building in Estonia, with an area of ​​16,200 square meters. The park has a capacity of 1.4 MW and an annual yield of 1.1 GWh, which in the future will cover a third of the plant’s electricity needs in the peak period of beer consumption, when the station is operating at full capacity. There are over 3,500 panels on the roof.

“Building a solar park is of significant importance for Saku Brewery – it is part of our journey towards a smaller environmental footprint. Environmental sustainability and responsible business are very important to us and it is part of our daily work. We invest a lot of resources in reducing our environmental impact. But what can we hide here, the war in Ukraine has made the use of renewable energy relevant from another angle as well. Just like many other companies, we also think even more about so-called energy independence, that is, how to produce as much of the electricity we need ourselves as possible,” said Jaan Härms, a member of the board of Saku Õlletehas.

The Saku Brewery solar park produces 9 MW of electricity per day in beautiful sunny summer weather and 4 MW on a less sunny summer day.

According to a member of the board of the Saku Brewery, the solar park to be built will start to benefit them immediately. The expected annual savings is estimated at 17,000 euros. “The savings on our daily electricity and network service costs is up to 17%, which in turn covers a significant part of our annual energy needs. Figuratively speaking, we can produce all of Saku Brewery’s bottled and keg beverages, i.e., bottle the products of our bottle line and keg line, with the energy obtained from the solar park alone,” explained Jaan Härms.

Saku Brewery is based on the group-wide Together Towards Zero (TTZ) strategy established in 2017 for its sustainable development, i.e. ESG (abbreviation of the English expression environmental, social and governance) goals gathered under the acronym widely used worldwide today. The strategy has four overarching goals, including a plan to achieve zero carbon emissions in production by 2030.

Similarly, the goal is to become carbon neutral at Alexela by 2030 at the latest, by developing a circular economy, contributing to energy security and initiating projects that actually reduce the carbon footprint. Alexela is an Estonian green innovator that operates mainly in the field of energy, developing a sustainable gas station network through the creation of biomethane, LNG, electricity and, in the near future, hydrogen refueling facility. As an energy retailer, the company sells a unique selection of electricity, natural gas, and cylinder and tank gas, and offers automotive fuels, including sustainable fuels, in its more than a hundred gas stations across Estonia. In addition, the company has 39 convenience stores. Alexela is also developing a water storage device called Energiasalve in Paldiski, which provides the opportunity to store the generated solar and wind energy for those hours and days when there is not enough green energy.

Become an electricity producer too!

Alexela invites both large and small power producers to join. The production of electricity allows you to save on company or household expenses and significantly reduces the ecological footprint of production or household. Several small-scale renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels, wind turbines, cogeneration of electricity and heat and hydroelectric power plants that work on biomass, are suitable for Estonian conditions.

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