Energy price crisis boosts interest in solar panels

Solar energy.
Solar energy. Source: Alex Fox / Pixabay

The current price of energy crisis has sent people looking for alternative sources of energy, with interest in solar panels also growing. Estonia will introduce an extra support measure for boosting the energy efficiency of buildings and solar panels in the coming months.

Two solar panels measures are being drawn up – one for private residences and one for apartment buildings.

"The existing pot for solar panels is €3.7 million, which is clearly not enough. We are looking for additional sums and I hope we will find them," Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt said.

The apartment buildings measure aimed at installation of solar panels and increased energy efficiency is worth €10 million. While apartment buildings will have to demonstrate better efficiency, there are fewer conditions tied to the private residences measure.

Owners of private houses in Tallinn and Tartu will be compensated for 10 percent of the cost of panels, with the support rising to 20 percent elsewhere in Estonia.

"I think it is a considerable percentage, especially talking about private residences. It is more for apartment buildings – 30 percent or more if additional energy efficiency schemes are used," Sutt explained.

The pay-back period of solar panels is getting shorter in the wake of electricity and gas price hikes. The average estimated recoupment period used to be a decade, while eight years should be more accurate today, Targo Kalamees, TalTech professor of building engineering physics, said.

A lot depends on the panels' efficiency rating and price, which recent global supply problems have driven up slightly.

"One thing that needs to be kept in mind when installing solar panels on the roof is to make sure to insulate and/or renovate it first to make sure it would last for 30 or 50 years and you would not have to remove and reinstall the panels a few years later. The additional labor involved would considerably draw out the recoupment period," Kalamees warned.

The professor said that solar panels will become more common in Estonia as renewable energy is fast becoming a staple when constructing new buildings.

"Just how central water, heating and electricity have become staples over time. It [solar panels] will be among such solutions in the future," Kalamees said.

The details of the solar panels support scheme should be set next week and KredEx start to accept applications from February or March.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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