The sun rises on a warm May morning above Karuna village. Its rays soon hit the solar panels placed on a slope in Ismo Anttalainen's farm, and the power generated by the panels heats up the house, its engine room and household water. The vegetables, peaches and grapes growing in the greenhouse also need some extra warmth in the cold nights.
Slope location guarantees maximal output
Ismo Anttalainen gave careful consideration to the location of his solar panels and finally set up 84 panels in a V pattern on a gentle southern slope. He has calculated that this maximises his gain from the sun's rays. Anttalainen logs himself in the Buddy Power application that gathers data on the panels' output and energy consumption.
“Yesterday was a long, sunny spring day and the first half of the panels reached their peak output soon after noon. As the sun moved on, the rays hit the second half, which reached peak output after 1 pm.”
On a rooftop, the solar panels' peak output would have been much shorter due to shadows falling on the roof. Low winter sun could not have reached the tree-shaded rooftop at all.
Surplus electricity goes to neighbours
In warm months when the production is at peak, Anttalainen does not have the chance to use up all the solar power he generates. The surplus electricity is transmitted to neighbours living within a 1-kilometre radius, with whom he forms a power community. They all use the Buddy Power application where they can monitor the solar power consumption. The power community does not require building a separate network; the solar power produced by Anttalainen uses the existing electricity network to reach the adjacent homes.
Ismo Anttalainen now uses an air source heat pump to heat and cool his 150-sqm house. He used to use oil for heating. He estimates that his savings are around 3,000 euros a year with the new heating solution.
The overall investment in the solar panel system was 23,000 euros. Anttalainen received 9,000 euros in agricultural subsidies. These can cover up to 40% of the total cost. The costliest items in the system are the panels, racks, inverter and equipment. Anttalainen took care of the earth moving and cable pulling, and then an electricity contractor made the connections.
“The system's output has exceeded expectations, with output just one kilowatt below the theoretical peak. This way I'm doing my share to curb carbon dioxide emissions, and it feels good!” Anttalainen says with a smile.