Solar panel boom expected to continue this year in Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year and 3 months ago

Last year there was a boom of solar panels in Latvia. In total, 12,300 households have already installed solar panels or microgenerators with a total capacity of more than 80 megawatts (MW). More state aid is still available for those who want to install them, Latvian Radio reported on February 27.

The electricity distribution network (Sadales tīkls, ST) development director Jānis Kirkovalds said that while more than 12,000 households have installed solar panels, the capacity they consume is small, one microgenerator up to 11.1 kW.

"Capacity is still available to us. In rural networks, a lot of solar stations have taken up capacity, while cities and suburban areas have free capacity available. [..] I think the most active households have already done it last year, but this year we are looking forward to continuing to a somewhat smaller extent, but we also see the possibility that a full 80 MW could still come. On the other hand, with stations [..] possibly up to 200 MW of total capacity that could be connected to our network," Kirkovalds said.

Support programs for households and businesses for the creation of solar panels and power plants shall be granted by the financial institution “Altum”. Applications from 98 companies for self-consumption amounting to 9,883 MWh have already been approved. Ieva Vērzemniece, head of Altum's Department of Energy Efficiency Programs, said that interest in energy efficiency programs for private homes had been high in the summer, with interest declining in winter.

"In total, we have currently approved 550 applications for the installation of solar panels in private homes, and already 409 private houses have received State aid for setting up solar panels in their home for an amount of EUR 1.35 million. Depending on the capacity of solar panels, support is up to €4,000. We are now planning that the program will certainly be open until the beginning of summer. Since if there is an idea and a plan for solar panels in your private house, it is time to move and start making an application," said Vērzemniece.

Latvian Environment Investment Fund Finance Manager Gints Kārkliņš also said that some €18 million of the €30 million for households to use renewable energy resources were currently issued, so the money is still available.

“This year, project applications for €11.1 million can be submitted. Amendments to Cabinet regulations are planned, which would facilitate the application procedures, and also at the same time it is planned to increase the available funding for the realization of these types of projects,” said Kārkliņš.

According to information gathered by the Environmental Investment Fund, households in Rīga region have implemented the most projects for renewable energy resources – over 2600 projects. The leader among municipalities is Mārupe with 635 projects.

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