K Group pilots a new way to utilise solar power: solar panels at K-Supermarket Hertta installed on the building facade

Wall-mounted solar panels on building facades have not been utilised very much so far, but they could enable increasing solar power production in Finland. K-Supermarket Hertta in Helsinki has solar panels installed on its building facade this October.
Photos: Julius Konttinen

At an annual level, Finland gets almost as much sunlight as more southern countries like Denmark and Germany, as summer days in Finland are exceptionally long, with hours and hours of daylight. In the winter, sun shines very low on northern latitudes, and therefore it makes sense to place solar panels on the walls of buildings as well as on rooftops.

“Wall-mounted panels offer good solar power production potential for stores, offices and public buildings. Their production is especially high on late winter days, when the snow on the ground reflects the sun. The fact that snow does not pile up on wall panels the same way it does on roof panels is another advantage,” says Matti Kalervo, K Group’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility.

K-Supermarket Hertta uses only renewable electricity

To mitigate climate change, we must find new ways to produce renewable, emission-free energy. K Group invests heavily in solar power, and is the biggest producer of solar power in Finland with 32 solar power plants.

K-Supermarket Hertta in Herttoniemi, Helsinki, has 140 solar panels installed on its building facade, generating 43.4 kWp with an estimated annual production of 30 MWh.

“Solar power is an excellent, renewable form of energy for our store’s electricity. Our plant’s production is at its highest in the summer, which is also when we tend to consume the most electricity for the store’s cooling and refrigeration equipment. In the summer, our own solar power plant provides nearly all the electricity we need for our ventilation system,” says K-Supermarket Hertta’s retailer Markus Ranne.

In addition to its own solar power plant, the store uses 100% renewable electricity provided by Kesko. All electricity purchased by Kesko for K-stores and other Kesko properties has been renewable since 2017.

New solar power plants in the works

K-Supermarket Hertta will host K Group’s 32nd solar power plant. Another plant will be completed at K-Supermarket Hanko in October, and construction is underway for plants at K-Citymarket Rauma, K-Citymarket Mäntsälä and K-Citymarket Rusko.

“We have made the decision to have solar power plants installed at all new major stores we build. We will use the experiences gained from K-Supermarket Hertta to map out possibilities for utilising wall panels also in our other stores,” says Matti Kalervo.

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