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  • Shopping centre Elo’s solar power plant meets expectations – and the results benefit all of Ylöjärvi

Shopping centre Elo’s solar power plant meets expectations – and the results benefit all of Ylöjärvi

The Elo solar power plant, which has been operating since March 2020, met almost 24 percent of the shopping centre’s total electricity consumption in the first year. The project also supports the climate targets of Ylöjärvi, which is undertaking massive emissions reductions with the aim of becoming carbon-neutral.

In March 2020, the largest roof-built solar power plant in Finland was completed on the roof of the Elo shopping centre in Ylöjärvi. The shopping centre is owned by Sponda. Expectations for the large-scale project were high.

Now, almost a year later, it is clear that the investment in solar energy paid off handsomely.

“The first summer of the solar power plant was very profitable, and in line with forecasts. Elo’s power plant visibly increased the production of solar power throughout the Ylöjärvi area in the first year alone”, says product group manager Riku Kuikka of Helen, the energy company responsible for implementation of the project.

Solar power plant is an example of effective sustainability.

The solar power plant has produced just under 600 MWh in its first year of operation, which corresponds to 3.4 million kilometres driven by electric car. The project has also brought significant environmental benefits. Replacing grid power with solar power can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 194,000 kg per year.

The 3,186 solar panels installed on the roof of Elo have together produced almost 600 MWh of energy so far. The amount was able to meet 32 per cent of the simultaneous electricity consumption need of the shopping centre.

“During the lifespan of a solar power plant, the reduction is in the region of several million kilos of CO2, which is a very significant achievement even when looking at the bigger picture”, Kuikka says.

Sustainability and cost savings

According to Sponda sustainability manager Pirkko Airaksinen, the main value of the project is that it makes concrete the work done in the area of sustainability, and benefits a wide range of stakeholders.

“Solar energy has proven to be a great choice from the perspective of both the environment and cost savings. The successful project shows that we are on the right track in our sustainability programme to maximise the potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy in both our new and older properties.”

The more profitable the solar power plant investment, the more efficiently its power output can be used in the property. Shopping centres typically consume a large amount of electricity– especially during the summertime, when additional cooling is needed. For this reason, having a solar power plant at a shopping centre produces maximum benefit.

Elo shopping centre manager Timo Matinlompolo says that the solar power plant project will benefit the shopping centre’s customers, tenant companies and the town of Ylöjärvi.

Solar energy has proven to be a great choice from the perspective of both the environment and cost savings.

“Our responsible and environmentally conscious customers particularly appreciate the environmental impact of the project. And our results also contribute to the climate goals of Ylöjärvi, which aims to become a carbon-neutral town. For our tenants, the project provides indirect benefits through the shopping centre’s reduced electricity bill and lower maintenance costs.”

A successful project inspires others

Kuikka believes it is important that big players such as Sponda have the courage to invest in new energy projects and show that solar energy is more than just hype.

“The Elo solar power plant is an important example of a concrete and effective sustainability effort. I believe that due to the solar power plant, many other Finnish companies and consumers will also wake up to the fact that the roofs of properties could be put to better use.”

In 2021, the output of the solar power plant will be examined for a full year, so even better results are expected. A sunny summer could also increase power output even further.

One concrete benefit of the solar power plant is the BREEAM In-Use environmental certification issued to Elo shopping centre in December 2020. The centre was granted the Very Good level of the certificate.

“It is important that the big operators have the courage to invest in energy projects and show that the benefits of solar energy are not just hot air.”

“The solar power plant was one of the factors that enabled the shopping centre to obtain the BREEAM certification. The certificate will help Elo to position itself more visibly as a responsible operator that creates added value for the environment”, says Pirkko Airaksinen.


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