University of Oulu

Enhancing solar energy generation potential in the villages of Rovaniemi, Lapland

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Author: Abraham, Daniel1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Environmental Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Pages: 117
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : D. Abraham, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-18
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Pongracz, Eva
Shekar, Vinay
Reviewer: Pongracz, Eva
Shekar, Vinay
Calo, Antonio


This master’s thesis investigated the solar energy potential of future plots in three different village groups in Lapland using existing provisional master plans. The investigation was conducted as part of the SINNI project. The project explores the potential of virtual power plants in the villages of Lapland. The target area of this research was three village groups in the Rovaniemi region around Sinetta, Vikajärvi and Vanttauskoski. The village groups were selected because the buildings form relatively cohesive groups from the point of view of energy generation, and the proximity of the areas to power lines and main roads. The project aims to characterize “SINNI villages”, which are to be defined by indicators such as their energy production potential, as well as geographical features such as location, land use patterns, and suitability of building stock. The expectation is that when defining the economic feasibility of solar power generation in SINNI villages, these criteria could be used as a basis to assess the techno-economic feasibility of similar sites in the future. The solar energy potential was first assessed considering future buildings on the best oriented building plots in the master plans. The hypothetical range of 120–180° from the true north was selected for the analysis as potentially feasible orientations for solar energy generation. The estimated solar energy potential for the future plots in the three village groups, considering this range of azimuths were 1.07GWh/year for Sinetta, 0.57GWh/year for Vikajärvi and 1.04GWh/year for Vanttauskoski. Secondly, the solar energy potential of all building plots in the 3 village groups were calculated to observe the difference in output. It was found that the solar energy potential of all future plots in the three Village Groups were 1.20GWh/year, 0.71GWh/year,1.47GWh/year respectively. The small differences observed were due to the fact that the majority of the future buildings in the master plans were adjusted well enough to support solar energy generation. Due to the Northern location of the villages, the issue of snow on the panels were also investigated, to ascertain missed solar energy generation potential attributed to snow covering the panels. The results show that 28.3% of the solar energy generation in Spring could be lost due to snow, if effective mitigation strategies are not implemented. The profitability of the solar investments was also analysed using Finsolar Profitability Calculator, from the perspective of homeowners. The results of this research indicate that deploying rooftop solar panels makes economic sense, if the roofs are in the 120–210° azimuth range, as this would provide a relatively fair payback period in the range of 19–23 years. Azimuths out of this range typically result in significantly higher payback period. The use of self-generated energy was also assessed and the consumption profiles for the village groups were analysed in juxtaposition with the self-produced energy under the framework of energy communities. The results show that solar power investments could be economically profitable even in Lapland, if the houses and roofs are sited optimally. The research also indicates that the energy community concept which have been brought into limelight in recent EU directives could potentially enhance the profitability of solar investments by facilitating energy sharing within the community which maximises the value of solar energy produced. They also potentially enhance customer participation, energy security, independence, efficiency, and sustainability which could be regarded as some of the most crucial goals in the energy sector for EU Member States.

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Copyright information: © Daniel Abraham, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.