Solar park opened in Salaspils

A solar park has been opened in Salaspils, near Rīga, to be used for heating the town. The local heating utility Salaspils siltums says that it will reduce both pollution and heating costs for the local population.

The park, part of a €7m energy project, has more than 1,700 solar panels that can heat water to about 90C in sunny weather and up to 70C in cloudy weather. While it is not enough to fully provide heating for the entire town, it will be able to provide hot tap water for every resident. 

Hitherto Salaspils siltums has mostly used wood chips and natural gas for heating, but now the stations burning this type of fuel will be non-operational for the summer.

"It will provide one-fifth of all the heating energy consumed in the town," said Salaspils siltums board member Ina Bērziņa-Veita.

A Danish company was picked to install the park as heating utilities in the Scandinavian country have employed solar for similar purposes for more than thirty years now. 

"More effective solar panels will be available in the future, of course, but even the current energy efficiency indices are very high. Therefore the efficiency of the technologies to come won't grow as fast, even though the goal is to approach 100% efficiency," said Arcon-Sunmark representative Leo Holm.

Salaspils mayor Raimonds Čudars said that the heating costs could be reduced 5-8% after the solar park becomes operational. 

This is currently the only solar park in Latvia, though the heating utilities of other towns have expressed interest in the project.

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