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Merito Partners commissions Latvia’s largest solar power plant in Brenguļi

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Using EUR 6 million of local capital, largest solar power plant (SPP) in Latvia has been commissioned in Brenguļi, Valmiera district, paying particular attention to environmental protection and biodiversity preservation. This SPP will provide green electricity to almost 4,000 households.  

The new SPP has been built alongside Valmiera–Brenguļi–Bikseja road, two kilometres from Brenguļi and eight kilometres from Valmiera city centre. The owner of this SPP is Latvian investment fund Merito Sustainable Energy Fund I, which has partnered with experienced renewable energy project development experts Saules Energy, to implement SPP projects. The general contractor for this project is a Latvian company KL Systems, with 12 years of experience in constructing industrial solar parks in Europe and around the world. 

More than 12,300 solar panels are installed in Brenguļi SPP, spanning an area of 8.9 hectares. The new power plant will generate at least 7,500,000 kWh of electricity per year, equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of 3,800 households. The generated electricity will be available to residents of Valmiera and other regions in Latvia. 

According to Raimonds Čudars, the Latvia’s Climate and Energy Minister, “With the initiative of local entrepreneurs, Latvia is taking significant steps to strengthen our country’s energy independence. Solar energy is one of the most efficient ways in which Latvia and other European countries can reduce dependence on oil and gas products by leveraging their own natural resources.” 

Brenguļi SPP is the second SPP opened this summer that are constructed as a part of the ambitious energy project of Merito Sustainable Energy Fund I. The new SPP has received an investment of EUR 6 million, with contributions from 50+ investors as well as a loan of EUR 2.8 million from AS Citadele banka. This is one of the first projects in Latvia to secure funding within the framework of an agreement between Citadele bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to secure funds from the EIB guarantee programme for Latvian companies. 

“Currently the development of green infrastructure in regions is critically important. Historically, during the summer months, Latvia has always experienced the highest electricity deficit, which had to be offset by electricity imports. Now, environmentally friendly electricity is generated instead, which will be beneficial for the residents and companies of Valmiera municipality,” emphasizes Andris Kulbergs, Chairman of the Saeima Subcommittee on Environment, Climate and Energy

As Ričards Gailums, Deputy Chairman of the Valmiera Municipality Council, explains, “Valmiera Municipality already has 10 SPPs at various stages of development, and we can take pride in the fact that the largest SPP in Latvia begun its operations in Brenguļi. Every green investment is a valuable asset that strengthens the energy independence of our district and region.”  

As demonstrated by the experience of countries where similar power plants have been in operation for decades, SPPs are not only economically beneficial but also environmentally and socially friendly. Their construction does not require significant territorial changes, and during their operation, they remain quiet and neutral to environment and surroundings. Strong emphasis has been placed on preserving environmental biodiversity in the construction process of Brenguļi SPP. The territorial fence has been raised to allow free movement of smaller animals and amphibians into the area. Specially designed piles of boulders have been incorporated in the territory to provide shelter for wildlife. Additionally, the project developers are fostering collaboration with local farmers, inviting them to utilize the solar power station’s meadows for bee colonies and sheep herding. 

To strengthen Latvia’s energy independence, Merito will invest EUR 50 million in the development of eight new SPPs across Latvia. The plan includes development of four additional SPPs with a combined capacity of 45 MW by the end of this year, distributed across various regions of Latvia. Additionally, two more SPPs are scheduled for 2024. Collectively, eight new SPPs will generate more than 70,000 MWh of electricity annually, providing sustainable energy to more than 35,000 households across Latvia. 

One of Merito’s upcoming SPPs will be constructed in Kauguri parish of Valmiera Municipality, where approximately 9,000 solar panels will be installed in a 6.9-hectare area. Valmiera SPP will be able to provide renewable energy to around 3,200 households annually.