The Ministry of Defense has told local governments in Võru and Ida-Viru counties that developers of solar power plants with an output of more than 50 kilowatts will need a permit from the ministry in the future.
"The Ministry of Defense is asking, based on /…/ of the Construction Act, for design criteria and building permit drafts for all solar plants with an output of more than 50 kW to be submitted for coordination because, depending on their location and power, solar plants can negatively impact national defense infrastructure," Oliver Tüür, head of the ministry's national defense information systems and innovation department, said.
"We also ask for design criteria and building permit drafts for the expansion and reconstruction of solar plants to be submitted for coordination if the work takes the plant's output beyond 50 kW," Tüür added in the letter addressed to Alutaguse, Jõhvi, Rõuge, Setomaa, Toila and Võru municipality governments and Kohtla-Järve, Narva, Narva-Jõesuu and Sillamäe city governments.
The ministry is not against solar plants with an output of no more than 50 kW if they are plugged into low-voltage distribution networks.
Tüür emphasized that the ministry is proceeding based on national defense considerations as radiofrequency radiation could impact the efficiency of Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) electronic surveillance devices.
"Constructing solar plants in the radio system's restricted area increases the level of radiofrequency radiation noise that reduces the effective range of signals and the quality of parameters necessary for signal analysis. That is why electromagnetic radiation noise needs to be kept low in the restricted area, which is difficult to do in areas of high manmade radiation noise, which powerful solar plants placed close to one another amplify further," Tüür explained.
He added that these effects are only created in certain parts of Võru and Ida-Viru counties that have radio system restricted areas.
"The radio system is part of our early warning system that holds significance for both Estonian and NATO security," the ministry representative said.
Tüür wants developers to work with the ministry in the earliest phase of planning to determine whether the solar plant would be in the restricted area and any national defense limitations.
A solar plant with an output of 50 kW requires around 200 solar panels to be installed on 600 square meters, the website of transmission system operator Eesti Gaas reveals.
Editor: Marcus Turovski