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Demand for solar power products has increased exponentially in one year – Helen’s new Virtual Battery now enables storage of solar power for later use

Helen is now launching the Virtual Battery on the Finnish market. It enables longer-term storage of self-produced solar power and its utilisation also when the sun is not shining. The product is currently relevant as the demand for solar power products has increased tenfold in just one year.

Interest in the use of solar power and that way in self-sufficiency has rapidly increased in Finland over the past few years, but many people are still wondering whether solar power is useful only in the sunny summer months. Therefore, Helen is now launching the Virtual Battery as the first company in Finland, allowing storage of surplus energy for later use.

“The Virtual Battery can be compared to a virtual electricity account, which accrues a balance, i.e. surplus solar power. When you need to purchase electricity from the network, the proportion that is stored in the Virtual Battery will be used in the first instance. The Virtual Battery therefore ensures that the customer’s bill remains as close to 0 euros for as long as possible even after the summer. Market-price reimbursement for surplus solar power is generally paid only once or twice a year. “We believe that the Virtual Battery will meet the consumer’s growing need and interest better when the customer can utilise their surplus energy exactly when they need it,” says Helen’s Product Group Manager Krista Jaatinen.

According to Jaatinen, the sale of various solar power systems has increased tenfold at Helen over the past year, and the demand would be even higher.

“Consumers are more and more interested in safeguarding their own finances against changes in energy prices, increasing self-sufficiency and that way also reducing their own carbon footprint. Solar energy is no longer something that is just for technology snobs as the age of our customers buying solar power systems ranges from 30 to 80 across the spectrum. The lower prices of equipment and the increased outputs have also triggered more interest,” Jaatinen analyses.

Clear savings for a family with a summer cottage

The service works for all Finns who carry out microgeneration of electricity. Jaatinen gives an example how, for example, a family with a summer cottage can gain benefits from the Virtual Battery.

“Let’s say that in July the family stays at the summer cottage for the whole month, and the solar panels on the roof of their home produce electricity only for the use of refrigeration appliances as well as building technology that has been set to the minimum levels. In that case, the majority of electricity generated by the solar panels will go to waste at home. For example, a 4 kWp solar power system (14 panels) generates about 700 kilowatt-hours during July whereas electricity consumption at home is only about 200 kilowatt-hours. This means that 500 kilowatt-hours are stored in the Virtual Battery for use at a later date. In August when the family returns home, the solar panels will continue to cover a large part of electricity consumption at home, in which case the energy that is stored in the Virtual Battery will not be needed until in September.”

Solar energy in the future

At Helen, solar energy is strongly seen as an energy form of the future, and therefore the company aims to invest in the development of solar power products also after the Virtual Battery.

“The lower prices and increased outputs of solar panels have enormously increased interest in solar energy, but there has not been significant changes in the technology itself. We at Helen see that the development of the sector will focus more strongly on digital services, which the customers can use for wider utilisation of the energy they have generated themselves as well as for monitoring and controlling domestic energy use. This digital storage service for microgeneration that we have just launched has not been done in Finland before in this extent,” says Sari Mannonen, Senior Vice President of Helen’s Solution Business. 

“The Virtual Battery is only the beginning of the implementation of Helen’s wider vision where the energy users become energy producers. People were interested in self-sufficiency already before the corona epidemic, and they are definitely even more interested in it now. Furthermore, solar power has a positive impact on the value of properties. It is a clear change,” Jaatinen estimates.

Helen’s Virtual Battery is available to all Helen’s electricity customers throughout Finland.

More information about Helen’s Virtual Battery is available at:
https://www.helen.fi/aurinkopaneelit/sahko-varastointi/virtuaaliakku 

Published: 15.05.2020 09:29
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