Russia is famous for its diverse energy system. National demand for electricity is fed by numerous powerful nuclear plants. The natural landscape and affluent rivers are excellent for hydropower stations. It allows the country to keep some of the world’s lowest price rates for electricity usage.
A huge Russian territory includes many climate and geographic zones, suitable for different energy sources. Southern regions are comparable in terms of insolation with sunny countries like Spain or Italy.
Thus, national energy companies follow the global trend in search of more renewable sources. One of the notable firms is Solar Systems, which is operating the largest network of solar energy plants in the country by far.
A Worthy Rival for Traditional Sources
The development of the solar systems as a source for the electricity is dictated not only by the clean and renewable approach, but also other several important advantages:
- The possibility to place solar power stations close to the consumers, which eliminates the need for an electricity distribution network.
- Low operational costs, no need for fuel and ongoing maintenance.
- No rotating parts, which means the increased service period and low frequency of service, even compared to the wind power plants.
- Ease of the installation.
- No toxic waste.
Solar Systems is extending its network of plants across Russia. For instance, at the beginning of February, the second power plant appeared near the major southern city of Samara, which capacity has reached 50 MW.
Now the company is focused on constructing the biggest solar plant in Russia, which will be located in Stavropol, another Russian southern region. According to the terms of the deal with the regional government, the total capacity of this solar station will exceed 100 MW, with 75 MW this year alone.
An official long-term investment plan assumes the construction of 20 solar power stations with a total capacity of 365 MW by 2020. At the moment, this indicator shows more than 250 MW. The total investment amounts to 49 billion rubles (around $730 million).
Future of the Energy Sector
Many observers also notice that solar and wind energy sources reflect a fundamentally new concept which is about to disrupt an entire global energy system.
Currently, most local and national electric networks face instability due to the uneven distribution of electricity – there are certain “rush hours” when consumers spend more electricity, along with the generating facilities being idle much of the time. It leads to a high rate of electricity losses and blackouts. Moreover, a centralized grid is vulnerable to natural disasters.
Meanwhile, solar and wind energy plants allow to store excess electricity and utilize it when needed, with the equipment being capable to be installed in any consuming unit, from a household to a large factory.
So, in case of a wide distribution of renewable energy sources, the major technological shift from the insufficient and centralized grid to a decentralized network of microgrids will become possible.