Mäkelä Alu is taking a step towards producing solar energy11/03/2022
Solar panels provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly option for energy production. Mäkelä Alu’s rooftop panels were installed by Ismo Pitkänen’s company Pitkäsen Sähköasennus Oy. Photo: ARI KYTÖLÄ
The electricity purchased by Mäkelä Alu is primarily environmentally friendly, i.e. green. Now it has a new sunny yellow colour. Last autumn, 130 square metres of solar panels were installed in Mäkelä Alu’s factory area, which will be used to generate solar energy for the factory’s electricity grid. Their calculated output (approximately 20,000 kWh per year) corresponds to the electricity consumption of one electrically heated detached house.
“All in all, our annual electricity consumption corresponds to the electricity consumption of a thousand electrically heated detached houses. The overall amount of energy produced by the panels is therefore fairly small, but we are still piloting the solution to learn more about solar energy,” says Purchasing Director Ari Kytölä.
At the same time, we are once again one step closer to making our factory carbon neutral, which is our goal for 2025.
“There is no single way to achieve this goal, instead, it will require several different solutions,” Kytölä says.
The panels were supplied by Mäkelä Alu’s partner Salo Solar, and Pitkäsen Sähköasennus Oy was responsible for the overall implementation of the project.
The solar panel investment sets a good example to others
With its solar panel investment, Mäkelä Alu wants to set an example of environmental friendliness to its employees and stakeholders. After all, solar panels are an environmentally friendly solution that can have far-reaching effects.
The array of 68 solar panels adorns the roof of Mäkelä Alu’s staff facilities building. A monitoring device will be installed inside the building so that the staff can concretely monitor the efficiency and output of the panels.
Kytölä estimates that the investment will pay itself back in about ten years.
Mäkelä Alu may also install more panels in the coming years.
The energy generated by the solar panels can also be used in the summer
The solar panels cannot produce energy throughout the year. They generate energy for Mäkelä Alu’s internal electricity grid from March to September.
According to Kytölä, their industrial company is an ideal location for solar energy generation, as electricity consumption is steady throughout the year. All the electricity produced can be used even in summer.
Some have wondered why the panels were installed in the autumn, the darkest time of year.
“This was done because we wanted the solar panel installation to be ready by March, when there is lots of sunlight that provides energy. Installation works are also easier to complete in the autumn than in late winter,” says Kytölä.
What is green electricity?
All electricity purchased by Mäkelä Alu is emission-free, i.e. produced in a climate friendly way using wind, water, biogas, or sunlight. Green electricity is not necessarily the cheapest solution, but using environmentally friendly electricity reduces the need for fossil energy production.
The electricity generated by our own solar panels also reduces the need to buy such electricity.