Number of households generating electricity in Latvia reaches 20,000

The number of households in Latvia generating their own electricity continues to grow, with solar panels being the primary choice of generation equipment (micro-generators). In the first quarter of 2024, the number of micro-generators connected to Sadales tīkls AS reached 20 thousand, and their total generation power – 168 megawatts (MW). With this capacity, on a sunny spring or summer day, it is possible to generate between 20% and 40% of the electricity needed by society as a whole.

Micro-generation in Latvia has developed rapidly and convincingly: in 2021, the total number of micro-generators reached the first thousand, and in autumn 2022, the first 10 000. It was in 2022 that micro-generation experienced its biggest surge, driven by unprecedented fluctuations in electricity prices on the market.

“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was followed by an energy price crisis and huge electricity price hikes on the stock exchange. This motivated people to opt for solar panels as an option to be less dependent on such unpredictable electricity price hikes in the future. Government aid programmes for the purchase of solar panels had an additional effect. On the positive side, the aid policy continues and expands: the Ministry of Climate and Energy now also offers support programmes to citizens for electricity storage installations. We see this as a new trend, as more and more customers are installing energy storage systems alongside micro-generators,” comments Sandis Jansons, Chairman of the Management Board of Sadales tīkls.

Looking at the other Baltic countries, the micro-generation wave reached Latvia later, but very quickly. From a technical point of view, Latvia’s success story was based on a simple, fully digitised micro-generator connection process, which allowed Sadales tīkls to process each new application in just a few working days, while in Estonia, for example, the same processes took weeks or even months.

In 2023 and 2024, interest in installing micro-generators has remained high.

Typical micro-generator – 8 kW of solar panels on the roof of a private house

99% of the micro-generators connected to Sadales tīkls are solar panels, and the most common choice is to install them on the roof of a private house. About 95% of the time, micro-generators are installed by households, but they also tend to be relevant for legal entities (about 5% of the time), such as a farm or other small business.

The average power of a micro-generation unit (inverter) in Latvia is about 8 kilowatts (kW). Micro-generators are installed all over Latvia, but the greatest interest in the self-generation of electricity is shown by the population in Rīga and the Pierīga region.

Although micro-generation development in Latvia is naturally plateauing and expected to follow a downward trend in the future, solar power plants are developing more rapidly. While the total installed capacity of solar generation (both micro-generators and power plants) in the distribution system is currently around 360 MW, it could exceed 700 MW by the end of 2024 (including more than 500 MW from power plants).

A micro-generator is a power-generating installation with a capacity of up to 11.1 kW, while generators with higher capacities are classified as power plants.