Ludvika Municipality is Investing Heavily in Solar Energy

Solar panels on the sport hall´s facade in Ludvika where 175 kW traditional solar panels have been installed.

The municipality of Ludvika has decided to invest 3 million Euro in solar energy. Several installations have already been made and they have learned a lot on the road, among other things, they have developed a model for tendering calls that will ensure that you avoid problems and get the right quality.

Political decision behind a large investment in solar energy in the municipality of Ludvika

Ludvika municipality’s environmentally committed politicians have decided to invest 3 million Euros in setting up solar panels. As a result, property managers have received a clear order that is at the forefront and which it is important to do something good about. There is a clear link to the large employer ABB and the companies around ABB with high competence in electric power technology. One goal is also to increase interest in solar energy among other actors.

The responsibility for implementing the investment is now at the public company Ludvikahem, which is taking over both the management and ownership of the municipality’s properties. Ludvikahem already owns a portfolio of housing and premises.

Sports Hall
Fire Station
Solvik School  
Church School

Ängsgården Eldery Home
Gonäs Preschool
Service Home Marnäs
Tjädern Residential Buildings
Photo on top: Solar panels on the sports hall’s facade in Ludvika where 175 kW traditional solar panels have been installed.

Experiences from the installations made

– We have learned a lot from the projects we have done, says construction manager Jan Hedberg. This is still a bit of a wild western market that is not sufficiently regulated. At the first installations, we can state that the contractor did not follow the regulations. It is mainly about electrical safety. The municipality also did not have sufficient own knowledge to request the right surveyor and understand what we missed. At a later check-up, we received 3 full pages of things that needed to be fixed, even though the inspector approved the facility. So, in the future, we know how important it is to hire an inspector with the right skills.

Jan Hedberg, Construction Manager, Ludvikahem says that they have learned a lot from the solar energy projects that have been done and they have now developed a functioning procurement document.

– We have also learned how important it is to bring the grid owner in the planning from the start, says Jan Hedberg. They have their own rules for how the installations are to be made and after all, they are the ones who must approve the distribution of excess electricity. We have had a very good cooperation with our local grid company VB Energi. The Fire department demand clear signs that it is connected power installation. Standardized rules are beginning to emerge, but so far, local rules have to be followed in many respects, and responsible parties might not have enough knowledge and routines either.

There are also many contractors who sell and assemble solar energy without sufficient knowledge, which is not serious. You have to have contracts with them that they must follow. During the actual installation it is also important with staff that you can have a good dialogue with.

Procurement document for tendering process

Over time, Ludvikahem has developed its procurement document, which can now be used advantageously by others as a starting point for the tendering process of solar power plants. The tender documents include a long list of which regulations the installer has to follow. Much is about ensuring that the plant meets the requirements for electrical safety. Requirements should also be set for the performance of the solar panels, inverters, switches and marking. After installation, the plant must be started and tested together with the client. The supplier must also provide a maintenance plan.

Transfer electricity between buildings and real estates

Ludvikahem is already a company and has been registered as an electricity trading company. Rules that limit the possibility of using electricity in other properties than where the electricity is produced have been a constant concern and demanded to have a concession for electricity sales. Ludvikahem has now, together with the electricity grid company VB Energi, found a solution to this, at least when the properties are located next to each other. A DC power grid has been established that connects adjacent properties and technology from Ferroamp is used to power control etc..

Continued installations

Now it is Ludvikahem who makes its own decisions about continued solar energy investments. They are not based primarily on economic profitability, but on political directives as it is a municipal-owned company. Decisions have been made that it should be solar energy on all new buildings.

– We see solar energy as an important component in order to achieve the new EU directive on energy performance for new buildings, says Jan Hedberg.

Right now we are installing solar energy in one block with new housing, Tjädern. We are investing in traditional solar panels. We are also interested in testing roof-integrated solutions, but have not dared to jump on it yet.

About EFFECT4buildings:

EFFECT4buildings is implemented with the support from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Program 2014-2020 (European Regional Development Fund) and Norwegian national funding. The aim of the project is to improve the capacity of public building managers in the Baltic Sea Region by providing a comprehensive decision-making support toolbox with a set of financial instruments to unlock the investments and lower the risks of implementing energy efficiency measures in buildings owned by public stakeholders. For more information:

Text author: Marit Ragnarsson, EFFECT4buildings Project Manager, Länsstyrelsen Dalarnas län