Finland's green industry is a product of its past and its weather. The country's success in cellular and IT has fostered a new generation of startups targeting smart grid communications and green data centers. Biomass, a staple for district heating systems in northern Europe, will increase as an export. Energy efficiency regulations for homes that were first instituted in the '70s have lead to the widespread adoption of heat pumps and other appliances that could start to get more visibility overseas. There's also interest in wind.
The sun shines 19 hours a day in summer, but only 5 in the winter, according to Jukka Nieminen, CEO of module maker Naps Systems. Thus, the solar market is defined by exports. Still, the electronic side of solar is here: a firm known as The Switch, which makes inverters for wind turbines and solar, says its 2010 revenue will increase to 250 million Euros from 96 million last year. (Some companies will also try to lower costs by channeling production to nearby Estonia, the soon-to-be EU member where labor rates are 70 percent lower than in Finland.)
The gallery below is a highlight reel of some of the technologies and companies we recently saw on a visit to the country.