Fortum plans to build Estonia’s first solar park

A PV plant installed by Finnish utility Fortum in India.

The Finnish power utility Fortum is planning to build a solar park in Luunja Municipality, near Tartu in northeastern Estonia. In a statement to pv magazine, the company has confirmed a media article released by local press agency BNS, which reported about its plan to install the country’s first MW-sized PV plant.

Fortum, however, has specified that the project is only at an early stage, and that the amount of investment and the size of the plant have not been decided yet.

According to BNS, the project could have capacity between 10 and 50 MW, and require an investment between €10 million and €50 million. The size of the project would depend on how much land the company will be able to secure for the project. BNS reports, in fact, that the acquisition of the necessary land, which is currently owned by the state, remains unresolved.

The plant is expected to be built on polluted land or former military training areas. The CEO of local Fortum’s unit Fortum Tartu Margo Kulaots said to BNS that the project could also be completed by the end of this year “if everything goes according to plan.”

Fortum produces and sells electricity and heat in the Estonian cities of Tartu and Pärnu. The unit in Pärnu is 100% owned by Fortum, while the company has a 60% stake of the business in Tartu.

Fortum is targeting a GW-scale wind and solar portfolio. The company intends to invest between €200 million ($213.4 million) and €400 million ($426.9 million) in the development of large-scale solar projects in India. In early April, Fortum completed its third solar park in India, a 70 MW PV plant located at the Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan, northwestern India.

Estonia’s government is currently planning to change the law regulating electricity markets, replacing the current feed-in premium scheme for renewable energies with an auction mechanism. Estonia’s cumulative PV capacity reached 10 MW at the end of 2016.