Latvia launches net metering scheme for solar


Latvia’s state-owned power utility Latvenergo has launched Elektrum solārais, a program to support the development of residential PV installations under net metering.

The utility said that net metering clients will use the generated electricity primarily for self-consumption, but if the electricity generated by solar panels will exceed the power of electric appliances in the house, it will be automatically transferred to the overall power transmission network.

Latvenergo also offers the possibility to acquire polycrystalline solar panels on the basis of interest-free hire-purchase with a term up to five years. The PV systems, the utility said, will be installed by its partner company SIA Sun Invest. The size of the installation must not exceed 10 kW.

Net metering for solar and renewable energy power generators was introduced by the Latvian government in January 2016. So far, however, the development of solar energy in the country has been rather limited. According to Latvia’s grid-operator Sadales tīkls AS, which is a subsidiary of Latvenergo, there was just 1.3 MW of renewable energy power installed under net metering at the end of 2016.

Currently, the Baltic power system is connected to the Russian and Belarusian electricity grids. According to an analysis led by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) scientists, the process to interconnect Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to the European grid will be “complex and honerous”. JRC experts claim that the Latvian power system, compared to that of Estonia and Lithuania, enjoys more market advantages due to the high ratio of renewable energy (mainly hydro) in its electricity generation mix. Thanks to ist hydropower generation capacity Latvia has one highest share of renewables in the EU with a percentage of around 37%, according to Eurostat.

Furthermore, the country introduced last spring a reform of its gas system, which is expected to make the nation less dependent on gas imports from Russia.

A new reform for the further development of solar and renewables is expected to be promulgated by the end of 2018, according to RES Legal.

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