Varma is aiming to reduce the carbon impact of its property investments by 15% in less than four years.

The Finnish pensions insurer said it has almost finished installing the first photovoltaic (PV) panels on buildings it owns to help meet the target.

Ilkka Tomperi, investment director for real estate at the €41.1bn pensions firm, said: “Our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of our real estate by 15% by 2020.”

“It’s an ambitious target, which requires investments in renewable sources of energy,” he said.

The first PV panels had already been installed on the roof of its office building located at Itälahdenkatu 22 A on the Helsinki island of Lauttasaari, while its office property at Itämerenkatu 11–13 in the capital city’s Ruoholahti quarter would have PV roof panels by the end of this week, Varma said.

The building on Lauttasaari now had 197 PV panels with a nominal power of 63.5 kW, it said.

These panels give an estimated output of 55–60 MWh per year and 1,500 MWh over their lifetime, equating to the annual consumption of three electrically-heated detached houses, Varma said.

The building in Ruoholahti will have 128 PV panels, with an output equal to the annual consumption of two such houses, it said.

“For Varma, the PV panels are a climate-friendly and profitable investment, although the return horizon is fairly long,” Tomperi said.

“For these two pilot properties the investment payback period is 13–15 years, taking into account the government energy subsidy.”

The use of solar electricity would reduce the combined CO2 emissions of these two properties by around 20.5 tonnes a year and by 512.5 tonnes over the 25-year lifetime of the panels, Varma said.

According to the company’s climate policy published in May, aside from the targeted 15% reduction in real-estate related carbon emissions, Varma aims to reduce the carbon footprint of its listed equity investments by 25% and that of its corporate bond investments by 15% — all by 2020.