Aktuell Hållbarhet interviewed Harald in connection with the appointment (translated from Swedish):
By selling solar power on a large scale as a service to companies, it is possible to increase the production of renewable electricity, in a way that is commercially profitable. Harald Överholm saw the emergence of a new market in the US and 8 years ago he brought it to Sweden. After a contract with Swedbank, which was supplied with a new solar park outside Linköping (12 MW) the momentum has been building up and the first +10 MW plant was commissioned – a milestone for Swedish solar energy. Now the company is scaling up into the rest of Europe
– That was the starting shot. Now it’s an explosion, says Harald Överholm.
He stresses that the business is not about charity, but about increased company value combined with achieving the company’s sustainability goals. It is a model that is enabling the company to grow further in Europe.
– For the energy transition to be credible, there needs to be a commercial engine behind it. It has to really work, it’s like the iPhone exists because someone is paying for it, not because the government has decided on it.
The advantage of the business model, according to Harald Överholm, is that it will be easy for companies to jump on the solar bandwagon; they don’t need to hire project managers or engineers.
– We just sell solar as a service. It’s a small behavioral change, not a big one. We saw the success in the US and took it upon ourselves to drive this success in Europe.
As the foundation of his business, Harald Överholm has a PhD in solar energy from Cambridge University and, in addition to making a big impact on solar production, he spreads enlightenment light in countless podcasts and lectures.
Previous winners include Greta Thunberg and professor Johan Rockström.