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Volvo Penta D16 engines powering Sweden Rock Festival

“We only get one chance when doing a show. We can’t take a risk that equipment will break, fail or become unstable. That’s why we use these generators and engines. They are a great combination.”

Volvo Penta D16 engines deliver the power to light Sweden Rock
For those about to rock: The main stage at the festival is lit using Volvo Penta power.
Pelle Åberg, Head of Production at Sweden RockPelle Åberg, Head of Production at Sweden Rock, puts his faith in the Volvo Penta powered gensets: “These engines are very safe for us.”

Pelle Åberg, Head of Production at Sweden Rock surveys the huge lighting rigs on the festival’s main stage, which are powered by generators equipped with Volvo Penta D16 engines. “The Volvo Penta engines are safe for us. We know we can trust them and they perform very well at this type of event. The fuel consumption is pretty low compared with other engines.”

This low fuel consumption ties in perfectly with Sweden Rock’s environmentally conscious ‘Live Green’ philosophy, one which they put into action long before it became standard at such events. The festival is held in the town of Sölvesborg, southern Sweden and attracts top rock and metal acts from all over the world. Over 30,000 fans pack into the festival site over four days in early June every year.

“For a number of years, we at Sweden Rock have worked to minimize our environmental impact in various ways,” says Pelle Åberg. “For example, all trash left at the site is recycled, we use climate-friendly energy and have switched to an efficient and water-efficient sanitation system. Using less power in lighting the stages with Volvo Penta’s energy-efficient engines is of course another significant step in the right direction.”

Generating light for heavy metalGenerating light for heavy metal: Nine 520 kWe (kilowatt-electric) gensets are called into action at Sweden Rock.

The vast light shows at the different stages are supported by generators supplying extra electricity. These cannot fail, otherwise guitar solos would be plunged into darkness and epic performances interrupted. The majority of the generators hired by Sweden Rock use Volvo Penta engines.

Pelle Åberg is responsible for the planning and rental for almost everything at the festival site. He has worked at Sweden Rock since 1992 and made a conscious decision to switch to the gensets run by Volvo Penta engines a couple of years ago. Gensets convert heat capacity into mechanical energy and then into electric energy. They are specially made for this kind of event and are small in size, compared with the power they can deliver.

Jimmy OlaussonJimmy Olausson is the electrical mastermind in charge of over 1,200 km of cable.

Jimmy Olausson is a generator electrician and has worked at Sweden Rock for twelve years. He is responsible for the operation of the gensets at the festival. An electrical engineer by trade, he specializes in generators and likes what the D16 engine delivers. “This type of genset engine can handle bump-loads pretty well. When all the lights are on at once, the engine can handle it and responds well without dropping in frequency.”

If an engine struggles to provide adequate power for the application it is serving and the load being demanded, a frequency drop may result in the energy supply cutting out. According to Jimmy Olausson, the Volvo Penta D16 engines are able to comfortably handle the sudden and fluctuating demands of lighting a high-octane rock show. “The generators deliver a stable power that offers security. We have never had a failure when using these engines.”

With a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, Pelle Åberg needs to know that all the equipment he has hired will deliver. He is very positive about continuing to work with Volvo Penta and specifically with the D16 engines. “Volvo Penta is the most stable generator engine supplier on the market, and their brand stands for quality, good service and support. We are very proud to have this engine at Sweden Rock!”

Learn more about the D16 engine >


In all, nine 520 kWe (kilowatt-electric) gensets power the Sweden Rock festival.

The generators are powered by Volvo Penta D16 engines putting out 650 KVA (kilovolt-amperes, or apparent power)

The gensets combined maximum output is 4.2 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power around 420 average size houses.

The gensets often serve as back-up power for hospitals, farms and small communities. At Sweden Rock, the gensets are a must to keep the festival running, as the normal grid only covers around half the power needed for the festival.