Get inspired by a Swedish energy community, Solbyn in Dalby.
Solbyn in Dalby is a cooperative housing association initiated in 1979 with the aim to promote sustainable living. The community took on several sustainable energy project, such as purchasing shares in a wind turbine and setting up their own solar generation.
Embeded interactive presentation
Solbyn in Dalby is a cooperative housing association initiated in 1979 with the aim to promote sustainable living. To improve the community’s carbon footprint, several energy projects have been implemented. In 1992, the community bought 30 wind shares in a local wind farm, which is used to supply electricity consumed in communal areas. In 2014-15 onsite solar thermal collectors were installed and in 2019 the community installed onsite solar PV generation, providing heat and power to communal areas. Additional energy projects have included installation of LED to improve the community’s energy efficiency.
/INTRODUCTION OF THE COMMUNITY MEMBER/
/Link: Swedish national settings/
/Emergence of the community/
In the end of 1970’s in the city of Lund in the south of Sweden, a group of engaged people, interested in living in a more communal manner and more sustainably, initiated a cooperative housing association. Over the following decade, the group located a site (then on the edge of Dalby), secured financial support from the Swedish housing development organization HSB and constructed 50 apartments. A communal garage, laundry, kindergarten and a storehouse were also built in the community. The first members moved to the housing complex in 1987 and 88.
In the beginning, the group planned on providing their own solar energy as a collective, which also inspired their name. However, at the time of the emergence of the community, this was not financially viable. They first started integrating renewable sources of energy in 1992. It was not solar energy, as initially planned, but wind power, as the community purchased shares in a nearby wind turbine. In the 2010s, the community’s energy group – an interest-based group of 4-5 volunteers – began looking into other possibilities. In 2014/15 their initial plan came to life as solar thermal systems were installed, followed by a solar PV system in 2019. Since 2018, a number of energy efficiency measures were also implemented.
As we already mentioned, Solbyn in Dalby is an association with communal living areas, that participates in several collective energy projects. To better understand how this works, we will divide these projects into two types, first participation in the activities of others and second, collective investment decisions.
An example of participating in the activities of others is their purchase of the 30 “wind shares” in a local wind turbine association. This purchase gives Solbyn in Dalby the right to buy 1000 kWh of electricity per year at favourable rates to use in communal areas.
The second project form, collective investment decisions, is however more directly connected to the community. They are decisions and investments that are taken together and benefit the collective. An example of this is their investment in collective solar thermal and solar PV assests, which reduce electricity imports from the grid.
In both activities, Solbyn in Dalby, a single legal entity, invested expertise, time and capital in renewable generation assets. Investing in collective solar thermal and solar PV in addition to environmental benefits mean a lower electricity bill for the community members, as they use less electricity from the grid. Additionally, they also sell the surplus of the generated electricity.
The NEWCOMERS project (New clean energy communities in a changing European energy system) will deliver practical recommendations about how the European Union as well as national and local governments can support new clean energy communities to help them flourish and unfold their potential benefits for citizens and the Energy Union.
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