Number of renewable energy producers in Estonia grew over 3 times last year

Solar panels (image is illustrative)
Solar panels (image is illustrative) Source: (Denis Balibouse/Reuters/Scanpix)

The number of producers of renewable energy grew mainly due to the accelerated construction of solar power plants. The fact that this technology has depreciated by 90 percent in ten years has also contributed to the development.

Last year, 4,380 renewable energy producers applied to join Elektrilevi's (the largest network operator in Estonia) network. This is three times more than in 2018, when there were 1,500 subscribers. The majority of subscribers, who provide 60 percent of renewable energy, are solar power plants built on buildings or on roofs.

"The vast majority are solar power producers because, because it is the easiest to build, there are no technical constraints, there is no need to carry out environmental impact analyses to build it. Renewable energy support, which is still very attractive today, is €54 per megawatt-hour today, which will certainly make these business plans very profitable," said Priit Treial, Member of the Board of Elektrilevi.

According to the example of Eesti Energia, an electric  heated living space would consume 9,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which would require 40 solar panels to be installed on the roof. A solar power system would cost €11,800, but it would generate a financial gain of €924 a year.

Electricity is also largely sold to the network and the investment would pay off in 13 years.

As solar energy is still under development in Estonia, there is no good local price comparison base.

Andres Meesak, head of the Estonian Renewable Energy Association, said  that international analytical chambers have pointed out that the price of technology has fallen by 85 to 90 percent over the last decade.

"The best-selling 300-watt panel on the market will probably be available for about €100 plus VAT. The panels make up about half the cost of the entire system," said Meesak.

However, the rapid development is due to the support being paid to solar plants that will be ready by the end of this year. The support paid for twelve years is intended solely for the development of renewable energy.

"Without the support, the return would be very long and the return on investment would be insufficient for every investor," said Meesak.

Such contributions will no longer be granted, as the EU has set itself the goal of increasing market-based renewable energy production. Studies show that by 2050, solar electricity will become the cheapest technology to produce electricity with. 


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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