Is Solar Energy the Right Technology for Denmark?

By Daniele Pagani. Translated by: Joachim Plaetner Kjeldsen

The weather in Denmark is not always optimal for harvesting solar power.

When thinking about solar energy, Denmark is not exactly the first country that comes in to mind. We normally associate sun with Italy, Greece, Spain and all the other Mediterranean countries. While that might be the case when choosing a holiday destination, it is not when it comes to energy.

Fact 1: Denmark has more Solar Power per Capita than Spain!

According to the EU Market Outlook for Solar Power from SolarPower Europe [1], the podium of the highest penetration of solar power is occupied by three “non-exactly-solar-famous” countries: the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. These countries are the ones with the highest share of installed solar power per person, meaning that each citizen can count on 1044, 816 and 675 W of available capacity, respectively. The case of Denmark is of special interest, since, compared to 2021, this number increased by 58.5%, putting the country in second place after Portugal (+140.5% compared to 2021) [2].

Figure : Solar penetration in the EU: the Netherlands is the country with most installed solar per capita, followed by Germany and Denmark. Source: SolarPower Europe

Of course, these results are influenced by the relatively low amount of people living in the country, but they still represents a signal on the growth that PVs had in the past year, with total installations reaching more than 1.9 GW [3].

For what concerns the EU as a whole, there has been a 47% increase in new installations (41.4 GW against 28.1 GW of 2021): to better understand, the panels which came online in 2022 are capable of powering 12.4 million European houses. This addition brought up the available solar capacity in the EU by 25%, reaching 208.9 GW [4].

New panels also mean new jobs: According to the European commission, the solar PV industry created approximately 357,000 jobs in 2020, which is expected to more than triple by 2030 [5].

The EU countries which installed most PV panels in 2022 were Germany (7.9 GW), Spain (7.5 GW), Poland (4.9 GW), the Netherlands (4 GW) and France (2.7 GW) [6].

Fact 2: Solar Energy Represents an Important Contribution in the Danis Energy Mix

So far, we talked about installed power, meaning what is the maximum output that solar can provide. What about energy? How much has actually been delivered to the grid?

According to the data, solar covered 6.2% of the Danish energy demand in 2022 (it was 3.6% in 2021!), resulting in the technology which had the largest increase in contribution during the year (wind contribution grew “only” from 43.7% to 53.1%). Together, wind and solar covered 59.3% of the total Danish electricity demand. 

This resulted in 2022 being the first year where Danish solar and wind energy covered more than 70% of the demand on average for a whole month (it happened in February, July and November). The best performing municipalities were Norddjurs, Lolland, Lemvig, Jammerbugt, Esbjerg and Guldborgsund, for which more than 200% of their demand was covered by solar and wind [7].

Remember that you can always check the contribution of solar and wind to the system by visiting the website of Energinet, the Danish TSO.

A capture of Energinet’s page, where it is possible to view live the renewable energy contribution to the grid (Source:

Solar Energy in Folkecenter

Folkecenter represents a world by itself, so what was the impact of solar energy for us? Of the many PV panels we have, we are actively monitoring only two plants, as the ones of you who follow us via our newsletter already know: the PV test center and the Sebastian’s installation.

The first was installed in 2012 and it was part of a project with the Danish Energy Agency; the task was to test and track the production data of a number of panels from different brands, so that customers could have an independent evaluation of their performances, both individually and as comparison with the others. The installation consists of 40 panels (20 mono-crystalline and 20 poly-crystalline), for a total capacity of 9.5 kW. The installation has been running well in the last 10 years and all the data (both live and historic) can be found here.The second installation was built by Sebastian Salcebo Alba in May 2020, as part of his learn-by-doing experience as trainee. The system consists of 6 panels, with a nominal capacity of 1.4 kW.

From left: PV test station in Folkecenter, consisting of 40 panels (20 mono-crystalline and 20 poly-crystalline), for a total capacity of 9.5 kW); Sebastian’s PV installation, consisting of 6 panels with a nominal capacity of 1.4 kW.

Together, the two systems delivered more than 9.8 MWh (9,800 kWh) of green, free and gas-independent electricity in 2022. When we look at the lifetime production, the numbers are even more impressive: the test station have produced 90.87 MWh (90,870 kWh) and Sebastian’s system approximately 2.96 MWh (2,959 kWh), saving us almost 70 tons of CO2…not a bad result for two, relatively small, installations!

Energy output comparison for the plants at Folkecenter. From the data it can be seen that also a small installation can produce considerable amounts of electricity.

Is Solar Energy Good for Me?

If, after reading this article, you are considering to also get a PV system for your house/company, here are some practical advices.

Check for Offers

First of all, don’t get scared by prices: despite the cost of PVs fell considerably in the last years (making them often a “no-brainer” solution), the full installation can still represent a considerable investment, especially if you plan to “go big”. Get a quote from different installers on how much would the full system cost and what is included in the price (e.g. is the price referring to the components only or does it include installation costs as well?).

Evaluate your economy

Right now you are paying a “monthly fee” to get electricity: how much money do you put in that on a yearly basis? Remember that installing a PV system is an upfront expense, but you will have reduced or no expenses for electricity for the future years.


Does it make sense to have batteries? If so, which technology should you go for? That depends a lot on what are your needs, wishes and financial capabilities.


How long is the manufacturer’s warranty on the individual components? Some PV companies offer even 40 years warranty, while other components (e.g. inverters, batteries) will have lower “secured” periods. For reference, Folkecenter has some PV panels which date back from 1986, still working (although at a lower rate).

Select a System that Suits your Needs

How much do you need and how much can you produce? To answer the first question, try to have a look at your electricity bills: the longer you can go back on the past, the more precise will be your evaluation. In the bills you should look for the kWh used and, if possible, how are they distributed (e.g. do you have a lot of consumption at given point of the day?). 

For the second question, you can use some online tools. We recommend the Photovoltaic geographical information system, developed by the European Union. Here, you can insert your address and run an evaluation on the solar potential of your house. There are several options, basic to advanced, but you will get already a very good overview from the basic tools.

Screenshot of the online tool developed by the European Union to evaluate the possible solar energy output of a given location (Source: EU Science Hub).
Perfomance Report PVs Folkecenter
Report generated by the portal, which can be used when applying for a loan

The simplest way is to insert the amount of kW you want to install, mark “Optimize slope and azimuth” (if you are not limited with the installation location) and, if you want, insert the price of the system, together with any interest in case you want to contract a loan. By pressing on “Visualize results”, you will be able to see how much is your location able to produce over a year (estimations are done for every month). 

You can also generate a PDF summary of that, should you need documentation when requesting a loan. In our case, the tool predicted a production of 9492 kWh for the test station in Folkecenter, number which is very close (and sometimes conservative) to the reality.

That’s it! Now all you need to do is install the system and enjoy solar electricity for many, many years!

We started this article with the question whether solar energy was the right technology for Denmark. The answer should be clear by now: yes! For Denmark and for everywhere in the world. With the right combination of solar, wind, biogas and all the other renewable energy technologies we can completely substitute fossil & nuclear fuels, and live in a cleaner and more sustainable world!

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