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What to Know About the Finnish Grid System

Published: 11. Mar. 2024
What to Know About the Finnish Grid System

Updated 2023

To meet Finland's 2035 carbon-neutrality goal, efficient solar development and understanding the grid system is crucial.

The Finnish government has set a bold goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and to become carbon-negative thereafter. As a result, the race is on to identify the best solar sites and develop them as efficiently as possible. So what should solar developers know about the Finnish grid system?

Energy transitions around the world are notorious for being slow and gruesome for businesses wanting to expand their portfolio. Long delays and bureaucracy in approving interconnections for renewable energy projects are widespread problems that could hinder or even interrupt efforts to decarbonize and increase the use of renewable energy. In Finland, the process of initiating and approving a project can take up to two years, making it essential for developers to fully understand the complexity involved at the beginning stages to avoid delays and ensure smooth progress.

Developing solar energy in Finland: a tedious and multifaceted process

There is no standardized procedure for solar energy development in Finland, and it is up to the developer to find out about the obligations and responsibilities. The requirements for permitting are dependent on the size of the project, the location, the project's regional impact, the zoning plans, and other land usage plans. The development of solar power can be addressed on all land planning levels: the regional plan (maakuntakaava), the zoning plan (yleiskaava), and the city plan (asemakaava). Thus, there might be multiple levels to address in the permitting process.

IIn Finland, the authorities are required to process permit procedures for site construction, grid connection and usage, and other administrative approval procedures within a two-year period. Upon updating an existing solar power plant, or building a smaller than 150kW plant, the aforementioned permit procedures have to be finished within one year. Thus, the timeline for getting approval has to be embedded in all project plans.

In the matrix below we have gathered all the administrative procedures required for solar energy facilities as defined by the centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in Finland (


The high number of ‘Maybe’ in the matrix above is caused by a high dependence on site-specific factors. Only the notification regarding the construction and removal of power plants under the Electricity Market Act is required in all projects.

In Finland, large-scale solar power plants or large panel groups require at least an action permit in accordance with the Land Use and Building Act. If a large-scale solar power plant can be considered a construction, it may also require a building permit instead of an action permit. Depending on the location of the plant, its effects on the surroundings, and a possible connection to agricultural activity, construction may require a separate zoning plan in an area where there is no such plan that directly guides the construction. Special sites require special care, which is certainly the case also in building a plant in the vicinity of an airport. In these cases, it is necessary to examine the possible effects of panel reflections and glares that might be a risk factor for air traffic. An assessment can be requested from the company Fintraffic Lennonvarmistus Oy.

Thus, the multitude of considerations that go into solar development makes projects rather complex, and consulting the regional ELY centres and the municipality is recommended in all cases. At Glint Solar, we believe that endorsing a transparent and clear application pipeline and bureaucratic processes is paramount for the Finnish carbon-neutrality goal and the smooth cooperation between solar developers and authorities.

The process of connecting to the grid

In Finland, all projects that meet the technical requirements have the right to be connected to the region’s grid. The grid operator’s connection terms and requirements have to be unbiased, impartial, and reasonable as per the Finnish Energy Authority. The energy producer has to ensure from the grid operator that the plant’s hardware meets the requirements of the grid and all other electrical safety regulations. Once all obligations have been met, the energy producer and the grid operator will sign a contract to begin operation. In the Finnish market, there is no priority for the connection of renewable energy capacity, unlike in other countries such as Germany. However, endorsing priority connections for renewables is key to aligning the growth of the renewable energy pipeline with transmission capacity.

To connect a solar park to the grid, a developer has to reach out to the local electricity grid operator and request an estimate of connection costs and the timeline for completion. The grid operator is obligated to provide a detailed and clear estimate of connection costs and delivery time.

Furthermore, the grid operator is obligated to state the following information publicly:

  • the technical requirements for connection
  • terms of sale, price lists, and the criteria for determining subscription fees
  • a reasonable timeframe for processing requests for joining the network

In case the energy plant is equipped with a battery system to level power output, it has to be separately agreed upon with the grid operator. Any additional utilities used for the grid connection might also require some additional land usage permits. For instance, if the power line between the plant and the grid is at least 110kV and there is no place for it on the zoning plan, the solar developer has to apply for permission from the municipality.

Illustrative example: A utility-scale solar power plant (as per the Energy Authority)

A ground-mounted solar power plant, which produces electricity and has an installed capacity of 10 megawatts, will be placed in an area, part of which is zoned as an industrial area. The project needs the following permits and administrative procedures:

Zoning (Land-use and Building Act)

  • At the developer’s initiative, the municipality initiates a city plan change (asemakaavamuutos) to locate the solar power plant in the area in an environmentally friendly manner.

Procedure license (Land-use and Building Act)

  • The solar power plant has a significant impact on the landscape and the environment, thus a permit issued by the municipality's building supervision authority is required.

Notice on the power plant construction plan and commissioning (Electricity Market Act)

  • The owner of a power plant with an electrical output of at least one megavolt ampere must submit a notification to the Finnish Energy Authority.

Furthermore, the facility must have an agreement with an electricity network operator and a buyer for the electricity it produces in order to be connected to the electricity network.


How Glint Solar empowers the world’s most ambitious carbon neutrality goal in Finland

At Glint Solar, we see Finland as one of the key markets for developers in Europe with strong ambitions to grow and a lot of potential for accelerated PV development. Glint Solar helps solar developers more accurately assess the potential impact of their projects on the grid and take steps to ensure that necessary infrastructure and permits are in place to support them. This helps to avoid bottlenecks and facilitates a smoother transition to renewable energy sources.

With the Glint Solar software developers can reach more efficient and reliable early-stage site screening. When accelerating the solar pipeline, having a powerful tool like Glint Solar enables higher-quality project initiation by providing technical site specifications, accurate typography, 3D site visualization, and effective communication with stakeholders among other things. We are constantly adding new features to make the process even more seamless, and we are excited about what is in store for 2023 and how we can support you.

Useful links for developers entering Finland:

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