Development of Estonia's largest solar park delayed once more

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Scenes from the Raadi airfield tire dump clean-up. Source: ERR

Estiko Energia has promised to develop Estonia's largest solar park in Tartu for years but development has been delayed for reasons ranging from old tires to environmental protection. Now, even as the piles of old tires are cleaned up, the area still needs tidying up, which means the project will likely not be built this year.

Although piles of old tires were recently removed from the previous airfield at Raadi, Tartu, there is still plenty waste under the snow cover yet to be cleaned. By the first plans, the solar park was set to be finished by 2019. Now, Estiko Energia is looking at a six-month process at best to tidy the area up.

"Not just waste, there will also be construction waste. There have been many concrete elements uncovered and in addition to the tires that were stored in warehouse area, there are tires all over," said Ain Tammvere, board member of Estiko Energia.

Estiko had previously left the area of tire piles out of the solar park project, because they sensed the old rubber will not go anywhere for at least a decade. Surprisingly, the tires have now been cleaned up after a procurement was announced in late-July.

Estiko is now drawing up a new project including the area of tires. The process has delayed due to the uncertainty, but a 106-hectar 75 MW solar park should be ready by the end of the year..

"The contract states that a solar park must be developed within a year after removing the old tires, including the necessary infrastructure. There are many requirements from many institutions, there are plants under protection, one sector has to be cut. There is a condition that it can only be done in cold temperatures. It was not possible at all last year, now we need to do that as well," said Triinu Rennu, acting director of the Land Board (Maa-amet).

Tammvere added: "We are not in the best shape. We are missing motivation because the cluster power stations have not collected much support. We must do it out of our won pocket, we have no support measures."

The solar park is estimated to cost nearly €40 million.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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