Large solar park being built near Latvian-Russian border

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One of the most ambitious solar panel projects with a 400-megawatt capacity is being implemented in Latgale. A private company, investing several hundred million euros, plans to complete its work within three years, while electricity in the border area of Latvia-Russia itself could start to be produced earlier, Latgale regional television reported on April 18.

A helicopter, equipped with special equipment to carry out farm ortho-photography, takes off from the area of the Balvi municipality farm “Kotiņi”. Such is needed to develop a topography plan for the planned solar panel park. It is planned that the construction of the park could start next year.

"After receiving the flight material, we will be able to identify more specifically the solar power plants, the building areas of solar-panel parks, and the lines of the routes quite accurately. We will therefore be able to start an exact design,” said Juris Ģērmanis, project manager for PurpleGreen Energy B.

The solar panel park will be constructed in several squares on 1,200 hectares of agricultural land, farmed by Aldis Ločmelis, owner of the farm “Kotiņi”. In general, the farm operates around 4,5 thousand hectares of agricultural land in the border area of Latvia-Russia. 

“I also hope that we will still harvest in those areas [..] That farmland will not be completely abandoned. If there is a bad year in agriculture, then we will be able to profit from leasing the land,” Ločmelis said.

The choice of building a solar-panel park on the leased lands of the farm “Kotiņi” is because a high-voltage power line linked to Russia runs along them.

“The connection of the substation is intended at the 330-kilovolt line which enters Russia, but it is intended to break this line and disconnect from Russia by constructing our new substation, by desynchronizing Russia. This sub-station could be the first one to Europe, towards Latvia, and the electricity produced in solar parks should then be transferred to Latvia only and exclusively,” Ģērmanis said.

This solar-panel park could become the largest park of this kind, not only in Latgale, but throughout Latvia. “Given the capacity of the park project, which is 400 megawatts, it's very, very much. By comparison, it is equivalent to the nominal capacity of the Riga hydroelectric power station. It could in some way influence electricity prices nationally or in terms of exchanges,” stated Ģērmanis.

The project was coordinated with “High Voltage Networks”, where it was confirmed that Latvia would switch out of Russia's high-voltage electricity lines in 2025. Meanwhile, the investment of PurpleGreen Energy B could be worth several hundred million euros.

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