While other CLEAR-X campaigns have focused on conventional purchases such as PV panels for your roof or a heat pump for your home, the first campaign in Lithuania will focus on providing consumers with access to solar parks.
A solar park is an area of land dedicated to the generation of renewable energy through PV panels, where a solar park developer builds a large, remote solar plant on their land. The developer then sells the solar park off piecemeal to anyone who wants to buy it. Regular consumers can buy a segment of the PV installation in the park, which entitles them to the energy produced. This energy is sent via the grid to the consumer’s home, meaning they are the direct recipient of the renewable energy. The distribution system operator acts as a facilitator of this process.
“We often talk about the barriers to becoming a renewables consumer, such as living in an apartment block or being a tenant,” commented Eoin Kelly of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. “Solar parks offer an interesting workaround to some these problems – if I live in an apartment in Lithuania, I can easily make the transition to renewables by buying a “piece” of a solar park.”
A system of net metering allows for excess electricity to be “stored” – technically, used elsewhere and then providing the consumer with kilowatt hours to recoup the renewable electricity when needed.
The collective purchase campaign, as run by the Lithuanian Consumers Alliance (LCA), will guide consumers through the administrative process, and offer a more competitive price, given that they will be part of a larger purchase. However, beyond the collective purchase, the consumer will sign an individual contract with the developer of the solar park, as opposed to being part of an energy sharing community.
“In terms of what we want to see from a government level, of course more land needs to be made available for solar parks, and subsidies to consumers could be more generous, but most importantly, we’d like to see stability in the legislation,” commented Kęstutis Kupšys, vice president of LCA and a member of the European Economic & Social Committee. “There are talks of changing the scheme within the government, but it’s really having certainty in the legislation that allows for investment and expansion of the parks.”
More information about the campaign, which aims to get at least 500 Lithuanian households on board, can be found here.