Literary Museum sees solar panels as a way to reduce power bill

Estonian Literary Museum.
Estonian Literary Museum. Source: Estonian Literary Museum

Like many other institutions, the Estonian Literary Museum is struggling with soaring power and heating bills. Because the museum's electricity consumption is greatest in summer, solar panels are mulled.

The museum's power bill for September grew four times compared to 2020, this despite switching off cooling and part of dehumidifiers in depositories.

The price of district heating will go up by 47 percent in Tartu from November 1 that will put further strain on the museum's budget, administrative manager Margus Peet said.

"Because our systems have prioritized efficiency for years, there is nothing more to optimize. Spending on electricity has grown from €20,000 over the first nine months of 2020 to €73,000 for the same period this year," Peet said.

That is why the museum has joined other state institutions in asking for additional resources for this year and next with which to pay energy bills. The literary museum needs an additional €50,000 this year.

But the museum has another plan. To start using solar energy to complement what it gets from the grid. Margus Peet said that the museum's need for power is greatest in summer months when it has to keep its repositories cool. Estonia also has the most light in summer months.

"We have made a proposal to the ministry to teach us to fish instead of giving us one by installing solar panels on our roof. While we spend around 28,000 kilowatt-hours a month during the winter season, it jumps to 50,000 kWh in summer. The yield of solar panels grows by about as much in summer when I compare the two graphs."

The museum could install a small solar park on its 200 square meters of roof space. Such a project would require around €200,000 but help the museum better handle its power bills – it could source at least half of its power needs directly from the sun.

The museum would still be using so-called grid power also during summer months but could bring it down to 20,000 kWh to remove the summer spike in consumption, Peet explained.

Even though the museum building is managed by State Real Estate AS, money for the solar panels would have to come from the Ministry of Education and Research. The museum has written to the ministry twice. The latter's communication department told ERR that the ministry has no comment at this time.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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