Energy Smart is currently working on a 100 kW pilot photovoltaic plant in Võru, Southern Estonia. In a statement released announcing the project, Viido Polikarpus, director of Energy Smart said, "We intend to show our countrys farmers how they can generate solar energy into the public grid instead of waiting for European agricultural subsidies, which have a dubious future anyway."
Responding to questions posed by pv magazine, he adds that 70% of the around 400,000 investment will be received from the Estonian government. While DGERenergie supplied 11 of its 9000 NT DEGERtraker systems, PowerOne will deliver its Aurora string inverters to the project. The photovoltaic modules are still to be approved by the government, however they are planning to purchase them from Lithuania.
"We started [planning the project] approximately 5 years ago when my partner Michael Wegescanyi moved here to Estonia from Perth Australia where he had built several MWs of fixed frame solar installations. He couldnt understand why Poland and Germany have invested heavily in solar but Estonia not at all," said Polikarpus.
"Me and our other partner, Ronald Nermann attended the Hamburg PV expo three years ago and after that we were hooked. We applied for government grants and learned about trackers which we believe makes all the difference here in the north. We have gone slow, had several bureaucratic problems with financing and now we are waiting for the approval to hook up to the grid from our Energy company, Eesti Energia. The panels havent yet been approved because of the cost reduction of panels from the time we initiated our budget."
He added that 2 more photovoltaic projects are in the planning in Estonia: 50 kW in the town of Pukka; and 1 MW in Viljandi.