Aldis Stramkalis, physicist and CEO of Latgale Agricultural Science Center, has installed solar panels on a self-made structure in his backyard. Instead of being mounted on roofing, they serve as roofing themselves. Under the structure, Stramkalis stores firewood.
“I produced electricity for myself in the summer. We sell a very large part back into the net. What may not be beneficial here? Of course, the rules of the game must not be changed,” Stramkalis said.
This week, Saeima National Economy Committee reviews amendments to the regulation of the electricity market in Latvia. They are driven by KEM, who says the rules are not being changed, but clarified.
Deputy State Secretary of KEM Līga Rozentale noted that the general guidelines of the European Union state that self-consumers may inject a maximum of 20% of the energy produced into the total electricity grid within a year.
“This means you immediately consume 80%, but about 20% can be networked, sold as part of a net system to a trader,” Rozentāle said.
But if the user fails to consume 80%? Aldis has understood that the rest has to be given to the net for free.
In an effort to escape it, he created an electric wood-splitting machine, and actively uses an electric garden sprinkler. The Ministry estimates that those who installed panels for self-consumption, including through state aid, should not have such a problem. That is, they might have installed precisely as many panels as are necessary for self-consumption and not for production.
Stramkalis, meanwhile, said that because of the adopted amendments, people will refuse to install solar panels: “If you see this kind of rule change happening all the time - for the worse, of course - who will want to spend the money?”
The Latvian Association of Electrical Energy and Engineering Builders (LEEA) also thinks that the adopted amendments will encourage many to reassess whether it was beneficial to install solar panels. It has been advantageous for solar panel dealers.
LEEA chief executive Ivars Zariņš said solar panel owners were misled: “They [traders] could make calculations far more advantageous than they were expected in reality. If the people who put the solar panels didn't know [about the change], they've been misled. ”
The Ministry reassured that the old accounting system would continue to exist for another five years. The new one will only have to be implemented in 2029. “It wasn't a wrong system. It was a promotion system because installation of solar panels was not common at first,” said Rozentāle.
Now the number of microgenerators, or households that have installed panels for self-consumption is nearing 20,000.