Companies operating in the Klaipėda Free Economic Zone plan to install at least 2 MW of solar power plants by 2022. This will double the capacity of the plants installed in the FEZ so far. The companies say they planned these investments before the recent energy crisis, and the market situation may further encourage a turn to solar.
Companies operating in the Klaipėda FEZ have already been active solar energy consumers. At the end of 2021, the largest 1 MW solar plant on the territory was installed by PET producer NEO GROUP, another polymer company Orion Global PET already had a 356kW plant on its roof and fence, Vingės Logistika is using a 90kW plant on its buildings, and architectural glass producer Glassbel has been using its factory facade for some time now as an experimental test site for the company’s production of small, around 100kW, solar modules.
Until the beginning of this year, the total installed solar capacity at the Klaipėda FEZ companies was about 1.546 MW, but this figure is expected to more than double during the course of the year.
This year, the fish products company Espersen Lietuva is planning to join the solar power “club” with 500 kW, Orion Global PET is already building an additional 980 kW plant, NEO GROUP is preparing a new 500 kW plant on the ground, another 100 kW is planned for the new warehouse by Vingės Logistika, and many more companies in the area are considering, but have not yet formally confirmed, their plans for solar power plants.
In total, 2.08 MW of new solar power plants are expected to be installed in the Klaipėda FEZ business community in 2022, bringing the total installed capacity of the territory to over 3.5 MW. For comparison, according to Litgrid data, the total installed capacity of solar power plants in Lithuania as a whole is around 169 MW.
UAB NEO GROUP, which operates the largest power plant in the FEZ, comments that the development of alternative energy was launched primarily to reduce the environmental footprint of their operation and to produce more sustainable products. However, it is clear that such an investment is very worthwhile in today’s environment.
“We have had a biofuel boiler plant for our heating needs since 2015 and have been buying 100% renewable electricity from the grid for years. These projects are proving to be very successful, and we are planning two more this year: a new 20 MW biofuel boiler plant and a 500 kW solar power plant. Unlike our first rooftop plant, the new one will be installed on the ground,” says Ruslanas Radajevas, the head of NEO GROUP.
Meanwhile, according to Aušra Karalienė, the head of Vingės Logistika, it is now more evident than ever that these investments are paying off and that the company’s experience will be useful for further development of solar energy projects.
“Solar energy has not been a fad for some time – it has paid off in real terms, simply because the power plants in the companies still meet a relatively small amount of electricity demand. However, experience is gained from operating the plants, and the figures so far and the market conditions today should encourage further development of these solutions,” comments Ms Karalienė.
Eimantas Kiudulas, the CEO of Klaipėda FEZ, is pleased with the planned development of corporate solar energy projects, which contributes to the sustainability goals of the entire business community. He said that the FEZ management company is constantly communicating with companies about renewable energy projects, looking for and showing them the opportunities for their use.
“Solar energy is not only about sustainability but also about practical considerations. The current market situation should encourage businesses to further develop and invest in various renewable energy sources. As a FEZ management company, we are also looking for opportunities to install a solar power plant on the roof of our FlexStart Two building in the near future, as well as for future projects,” says Mr Kiudulas.