Nearly 300 solar power plants of various sizes set up in 2020

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Solar panels at a renewables power plant in Estonia. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

State-owned Eesti Energia group alone established close to 300 solar power plants for its clients with a total capacity of eight MW through 2020, Baltic News Service reports. Options are available for private individuals to generate solar power via panels installed on their property, then sell any surplus.

CEO of Eesti Energia renewables subsidiary Enefit Green Aavo Karmas said via a press release that: "Many private clients and smaller companies, who previously took a cautious attitude towards solar energy, have received reassurance and motivation from the national measures to reduce their environmental footprint and become a producer of renewable energy instead of being a  consumer of electric energy"

Enefit Green, the renewable energy arm of Eesti Energia, built a total of 285 solar power plants for clients of Eesti Energia in Estonia, plus 100 in Latvia, during the course of 2020.

Solar plants range from 3.8 kW to 348 kW in capacity

The biggest of these was a 348 kW solar park, while the smallest was a generating facility with a capacity of 3.8 kW.

Around half of the solar plants were ground based, and half on rooves.

Eesti Energia said that for those producing solar energy on their own the amount of electricity bought from the grid will be smaller, which translates into smaller amounts paid in network fees and state taxes.

Homeowners can sell their own solar-generated electricity

Currently, 2,500 clients sell electric energy generated in their home business to Eesti Energia, as such small energy producers. 

Corporate clients can choose whether to invest in a solar power plant themselves and become an electricity producer, or leave the investment to be made and the equipment to be taken care of by Eesti Energia.

"Looking forward on 2021, we can say that people's trust in solar energy has been affirmed," Karmas said, with ever growing numbers of customers interested in autonomous solutions.

Estonia more suitable for solar power than one might think

While it may seem counter-intuitive, Estonia is a suitable location for producing solar energy, particularly given the long summer days, to the extent that solar and wind energy combined have the potential to meet the bulk of Estonia's electricity demands. These demands had traditionally been reliant on oil shale burning in eastern Estonia, and in more recent years resulted in imported electricity, often indirectly, via the Nordpool market. Estonia has also committed to EU climate goals, making solar power, along with wind power and other renewables, more pertinent than ever.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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