Although sunlight in Latvia is an underappreciated source of energy, there has been an increase of interest towards use of solar energy among Latvian households. This is proven by the fact that in the last three years the number of households that produce their own electricity has doubled, according to data compiled by energy company Enefit.
This year’s study shows that 30% of Latvian consumers consider installing solar panels in their homes.
At the end of 2018, there were 474 households registered as energy producers. Most of them – 94% – were using solar energy. For comparison, in 2015 there were 233 households using solar energy panels, Enefit reports.
Enefit Household Segment manager Martins Vancans explains residents’ interest towards energy production with rising electricity costs and increasing availability of green energy solutions: “Currently we can see solar energy could become a popular solution to help reduce electricity and heating costs for households. Also, it is unlikely wind energy could become as popular as solar energy. Technological development ensures a simple process for solar panel installation, lower costs and shorter payback periods. Often the decisive factor is the thought that relatively small investments can secure an environment-friendly solution.”
According to Enefit experience, households often decide to install solar panels with power output ranging from 3 to 12 kW, which is enough to cover household’s electricity consumption.
In situations when an excess of electricity is produced, households are able to sell it for market price.
In practice this means reduction of electricity bills by approximately 50%, because not only is the needed electricity energy volume is reduced but so are the taxes and costs of electricity transmission. This means the payback period for solar panels is eight to ten years, Enefit explains.
“Our neighbors in Estonia have more experience with solar energy – the country has more than 1,600 solar panels installed. Most of them are installed on roofs. In practice, modern solar panels are more efficient and work well in our climate. This is why by implementing different programs that support solar panel installation, Estonia plans to ensure solar energy forms 4-6% of all green energy produced in the country,” says Vancans.
The number of Latvian households that want to produce electricity on their own continues to increase. Every month Enefit receives around 70 applications for solar panel installation. This outlines a clear trend that shows consumers are able to find flexible solutions for energy production and consumption to help reduce energy costs of their household. (BNN/Business World Magazine)