BUSINESS
Wind and solar energy in Georgian households: Are they becoming more popular?
12 January, 2018
Small and relatively large solar and wind plants have been set up in Georgia during the last several years, however, this tendency is not yet actively established.

Several companies have already appeared on the market and they offer solar panels and wind turbines. Statistical data show that alternate energy sources are rising at a slow pace. For instance, according to statistics data of 2017, one of the largest company "Sun House",
installed 8 micro-plants in Georgia, 4 of which are in Tbilisi and the rest in other regions.

"In November-December of 2017, the company has completed eight autonomous photovoltaic systems of 780 watts peak power for Tusheti Family Hotels.

Throughout the year, on the protected territories, seven units of the Micro Solar Photovoltaic Systems have been installed,"- the company says.

It should be noted that about a year ago, Helios Energy Georgia appeared on the market.The company has been helping to install alternate energy stations.

According to one of the founders of the company, Tornike Darjania, they have installed 4 small, 40 MW power stations in the last 1 year, among which 4 are in Tbilisi and are connected to the common network. Two were installed in Racha and Aspindza, where the general network is not distributed and the people are forced to receive electricity from the sun.

"The installation of one station requires about 2 days, and the higher the power station, the less is the cost. For example, if the price of 1 KW is 1 000 USD, 100 KW may be 700 USD"- Tornike Darjania explaines.

He says in Georgia there is more demand on solar panels than wind stations because the installation of solar stations is easier and the result is guaranteed. However, according to Tornike Darjania, it is difficult to invest in alternative power plants in Georgia.

"The cost of solar power technology decreases, and the electricity tariff is rising, so when the tariff indicator reaches the specific point, the return period of the investment will be 5-6 years and not 10-20, and people in Georgia will be persuaded that investing in solar energy is really profitable’’ Helios Energy Georgia founder adds.
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How many alternative energy stations operate in Georgia and what is their potential?

This is the question Allnews.ge asked Marita Arabidze, the Head of Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Sources department of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.

When does the alternate energy start to be implemented in Georgia and how many stations are operating now?

We mainly have projects involving hydropower. Almost 20% of local resources are assimilated. As for the solar and wind energy, the first wind power plant has been operating since 2016, with a capacity of 20.7 megawatts and generating about 88 million kWh of power annually. This was a pilot project, which confirmed that Georgia has good potential for wind energy.

We have already completed the technical-economic survey of 5 MW Kartli solar station and we think that we will move to the construction stage in the near future. In spite of all this, many people ask questions about why this direction is not fully developed in Georgia. In Europe this kind of energy is more appreciated, I mean tariffs, the so called green tariffs. Unfortunately, we do not have this type of tariff today. We have signed the Association Agreement with the EU and there is a specific directive that we will have to do this. The only problem is that we cannot name the exact time when this project is going to start.

It is important that in the Net Metering system, through which the owner of the generating unit can sell the excess energy and get profit, there are about 20 consumers involved and they use small solar stations. This is approximately 100-200 kWh capacity, and the output is approximately 130 000 kW / h. As of today, we have similar systems in mountainous regions, at small hotels and households, and this is a renewable energy scheme that already operates on the Georgian market.
How actively are the alternative energy sources developing in Georgia?

There are no statistics on how many people have individual solar systems. The largest solar power plant is 20 kW and panels installed in one of the kindergartens, as well as in several companies, in Bolnisi and Telavi municipalities. The rest are in households.

What forecasts do you have in terms of moving to solar and wind energy?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to say that using some kind of a percentage indicator. If encouraging legislation is put forward in the near future, then this process will become faster. I believe that the implementation of these systems is more important in the households. But if it comes usual in big objects as well, in this case it is necessary to develop an additional tariff mechanism and the results will be more positive.

A 5 MW solar project project in Kartli will be a sample and a pilot project. Studies have shown that we have a fairly good condition on solar radiation, but the point is that if we start using solar as a potential power generation, it will not be successful at all because Georgia does not have very large areas. Despite the modern technologies, solar panels require large areas.

Author: Mariam Menabdishvili

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