Norwegians produced four times more solar energy in their homes in 2016 than in the previous year and solar cells are becoming increasingly popular in the country, newspaper Afteposten reported Thursday.
Last year, there was a strong growth in the installation of solar panels at Norwegian houses, which produced around 3 million kilowatt hours (3 gigawatt hours) in 2016, compared to 700,000 kilowatt hours the year before, according to figures from Norway's Multiconsult consulting company.
Around 11.4 million kilowatt hours were produced in Norway last year, while in Denmark and Sweden the production reached 70,000 kilowatt and 61,000 kilowatts respectively .
Ragnhild Bjelland-Hanley, leader of the Norwegian Solar Energy Society, assured that interest in solar cells is increasing among Norwegians.
"The costs have reduced and the awareness and knowledge of solar energy are generally increasing among the people. A big focus on the climate changes, which have real consequences throughout the world, also contributes to the fact that some have become interested in solar energy," Bjelland-Hanley said.
"Solar cells are more efficient when they are cold, so it is actually a beneficial to enjoy the cool climate we have in Norway. On a cold sunny day in March, for example, you can get high output from a solar system," she said.
Owners of the houses can produce electricity for their own consumption, while remaining electricity will be pulled into the electricity grid and provide income to homeowners of up to 5,000 kroner (580 U.S. dollars) a year. They become what is called plus customers.
In Norway, there are currently only 700 plus customers. By comparison, there are 850,000 and 650,000 plus customers registered respectively in the markets of Germany and Britain, according to the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research.
By 2019, all Norwegian households will receive the advanced metering system smart meters, which will provide a better overview of power consumption and the ability to auto-control.