The construction of the landmark Hultsfred solar project, developed and owned by renewable energy supplier Neoen and solar solutions developer Alight, is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2023.

Under the long-term agreement, the solar park will provide renewable energy to H&M Group, playing an important role in reducing the fashion retailer’s carbon footprint. The companies claim this is the largest solar PPA in Sweden to date.

With a total capacity of at least 90 MWp, the Hultsfred solar park will generate the equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of over 16,000 homes.

H&M Group has set a goal to reduce the company’s absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions and its scope 3 emissions by 56% both by 2030 and from a 2019 baseline and to increase the annual sourcing of renewable electricity to 100% by 2030. As part of the company’s green investments, PPAs play an important role in the company’s climate work to achieve its targets, H&M said. By contracting in this PPA, H&M GROUP will make the project viable and add new green power capacity to the Swedish grid.

“We are very excited to see Hultsfred’s solar park becoming a reality in the near future,” said Ulrika Leverenz, head of green investment of H&M Group. “Renewable energy plays a crucial role in our climate roadmap to reduce emissions and achieve net-zero by 2040. Business and countries must show leadership to limit global warming to 1.5°C according to what the climate science urges us to do. Power purchase agreements like this one with Neoen and Alight bring us one step closer to meet our ambitious climate goals and increase the availability of clean energy in the country.”

Jointly developed and owned by Neoen (majority shareholder) and Alight, the project will have a total capacity of at least 90 MWp. It will be built using low-carbon photovoltaic panels to be installed around the runway of Hultsfred airport, in the south-east of Sweden. Construction is planned for the second half of 2023, with commissioning to follow in 2025.

Harald Överholm, CEO of Alight, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with Neoen and H&M Group for signing a power purchase agreement that enables us to rapidly build new clean electricity in Southern Sweden, where the demand for electricity is the highest. When a large corporation and power user decides to go big on renewable energy, it has a real impact on society as a whole, while at the same time creating more energy security.”

Xavier Barbaro, CEO and chairman of Neoen, added: “I would like to thank H&M Group for the trust they have placed in us and congratulate our local team and our partner Alight on the signing of this agreement. This is our first power purchase agreement in Sweden and our ninth in the Nordics. Our longstanding contracts in the region now cover almost half a gigawatt of renewable energy, showing once again our ability to meet the needs of companies like H&M Group and provide them with a secure supply of competitive, local renewable energy.”

Last month, H&M was named among a raft of companies to commit to a new Canopy-led initiative to purchase over 500m tonnes of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibres for the fashion textiles and paper packaging industries.

The Swedish fashion giant also signed multiple open letters along with a number of other global organisations for world leaders at COP27 highlighting the need to decarbonise economies and lay down laws that will tackle climate change in alignment with the Paris Agreement.