NREP builds record solar plant, urges change in tax regime

Logicenters, the logistics real estate subsidiary of Swedish property company NREP, is building the largest rooftop electricity generation plant in the Nordics atop one of its buildings in Borås, Sweden.

Covering an area of 60,000 sq m, the solar powered plant is expected to have capacity to generate 5 megawatts. Installation of the solar cells has now begun.

In addition to meeting the power needs of the 83,000 sq m building for tenant Speed Group, it is estimated that the plant will contribute with 2.6 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity to the grid. The solar cells can produce 4 million kilowatt hours annually, which is equivalent to the annual electricity demand for 1,800 all-electric cars.

Swedish Energy Agency’s statistics indicate that only one solar plant with a capacity of more than 1 megawatt was built in Sweden in 2019, it was built on the ground and has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts.

“The roofs of large logistics facilities are the ideal location for installing solar plants. Therefore, it feels important that, as developers and owners of logistics properties, we are at the forefront of solar electricity production on our rooftops,” said says Matthias Kettelhoit, head of Logicenters. “We have a number of ambitious sustainability goals, one of which is to operate all our properties using renewable energy. And the demand for solar electricity is high from both companies and individuals – something which we can now fulfil.”

He added that the solar generation plant will save 2,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Tax regime discourages large-scale self generation

During 2020, electricity prices have been 40% higher in central Sweden than in northern Sweden which Logicenters says demonstrates a lack of transmission capacity and too little electricity generation south of the Dalälven river. Solar electricity on roofs and solar parks can make an important contribution to the supply. However, the firm adds that Sweden’s current tax regime penalises those installing large solar plants.

Companies generating solar power on properties are taxed on the electricity they generate when a solar plant exceeds 255 kilowatts. The government has recently proposed raising the limit to 500 kilowatts, but the Borås plant is ten times that size.

“NREP has a total of 2.5 million square metres of real estate in the Nordic region and is continuing to make climate investments such as solar cell installations on a number of rooftops. But the government has a heavy responsibility in expanding the financial incentives for this type of venture. An energy tax on self-generated solar electricity, used partly by the company itself and partly contributing renewable electricity to the electricity grid, is not the right way to go,” said NREP Sweden CEO Stefan Wallander.