Lithuania announces first renewables auction and €4.5 million in solar rebates this year

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A few days after the European Commission approved Lithuania’s €385 million auction plan for renewable energy, the Baltic nation’s Ministry of Energy has unveiled details of how the program will work.

The ministry said technology-neutral auctions would be held and selected projects awarded a 12-year feed-in premium tariff. “The key criterion that will determine new auction winners will be the lowest premium … to the hourly electricity market price in the day-ahead Nordpool spot [that is offered by bidders],” the Lithuanian government said.

First auction in September

The ministry said selected developers will cover grid connection costs and those preparing projects with a generation capacity of more than 500 kW will also have to assume grid balancing responsibility. The government department said renewable energy power producers from other EU countries would be entitled to participate in the auctions but would only be eligible to bid for an unspecified proportion of total capacity.

In its statement outlining the new system, the ministry announced a first procurement round for around 300 GWh will be held on September 2. “Having called the first auction, the schedule of all auctions for the following three-year period will be approved,” the statement added.

A €4.5 million push for rooftop solar

In a separate press release, the ministry said it will earmark around €4.5 million for solar rebates this year. The funds will enable homeowners willing to install rooftop PV systems with a capacity of up to 10 kW to receive help with part of the initial investment in buying and installing arrays. The support amounts to €323 per kilowatt installed.

A tender for the scheme, which will be managed by the Environmental Projects Management Agency under the Ministry of Environment, will be launched on May 10, with the deadline for submitting applications on June 10.

The scheme is expected to run until 2023 and will be funded to the tune of around €20 million.

Lithuania’s net metering scheme, funded by a green certificate trading system, is expected to bring around 200 MW of PV power online by next year. In 2017 the program was extended to include businesses and farmers among those entitled to install PV systems with a generation capacity of between 10 kW and 100 kW.

More growth expected

The twin policy announcements are intended to revive Lithuanian PV after a moribund four years. Only around 10 MW of solar capacity was deployed in the nation during 2017 and last year. During 2016 and 2015, only 3 MW of new systems had been added.

Lithuania has a cumulative installed PV capacity of around 86 MW, with most of it – around 68 MW – added between 2011 and 2013 when generous FITs were granted.