Participants of a practical renewable energy workshop in Putāni, in the Daugavpils region, collaborated in building a solar panel with Indrek Roasto, an expert from the Tallinn University of Technology.
Roasto said that these kinds of panels are suited to homes that do not have a mains connection but are still in need of electricity.
“Today we built an off-grid self-consuming photovoltaic system. Self-consuming means that there is no need for it to be connected to the grid.I'm happy that a lot of people come to the workshops because they actually want to build something rather than just look at it,” Roasto said.
One of the participants is Edgars, who has recently moved from Rīga to Šķeltova in the Aglona region. Because there is no mains connection in the newly acquired property and its installation would come at an absurd price, Edgars is looking for a different solution.
“We were interested in alternative energy sources. One of them is solar power. So I came to the workshop to see if it is feasible. Well, it is definitely more feasible than connecting to the grid, which could cost around 30 000 [euros],” Edgars confessed.
In Latvia, solar power is not a popular source of energy. This is due to the unfavorable fact that the energy produced by solar power can only be transferred to the grid at the market price of electricity.
The same cannot be said, for example, of Estonia, where large numbers of solar panels are installed on buildings because of the profit to be gained from them.
“In Estonia, [solar power] means business. People can build solar panels, sell the energy to producers and earn money. In Latvia, it's only a hobby,” said Indreks Roasto.
The workshops are part of an international project involving Latvia, Sweden, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland.
“On the first day, we became fully aware of what solar energy is and how it fits into the range of different energy sources. Later, we'll work at fixing all the panels together and connecting them to the battery, so that they could be charged, and power the equipment and devices we need,” said Ilze Mežniece, the organizer of the workshop.
The experts involved in the project will also create a manual and an internet platform with instructions and visualizations on how to build and install an alternative energy generator. The information will be available for free.