Solar in Russia

Solar Installed Capacity407MW

With its vast size, Russia necessarily receives a very substantial amount of solar radiation, but the geographical diversity of the country means that the resource is not uniformly available. The average solar radiation in the southern regions is about 1 400 kWh/m2/yr whilst the remote northern areas receive about 810 kWh/m2/yr.

The regions with the best potential comprise the North Caucasus, regions bordering the Black Sea and the Caspian, and the southern parts of Siberia and the Far East. Areas below or near latitude 50ºN have particularly favourable solar radiation. The resource is extremely seasonal: at 55ºN it ranges from 1.69 kWh/m2/day in January to 11.41 kWh/m2/day in July.

Although it has been estimated that the gross potential, the technical potential and the economic potential for solar energy are 2.3 trillion tce, 2 300 million tce and 12.5 million tce, respectively, Russia’s enormous indigenous fossil fuel reserves have meant that historically little attention has been paid to the renewable energies. However, with about 10 million people having no access to an electricity grid and most rural settlements having no centralised heat supply, the possibilities for off-grid solar energy or hybrid applications are huge.

In January 2009 the Russian Prime Minister signed an Executive Directive for a greater use of renewable energy in order for the efficiency of the electric power sector to be improved. The targets for the share of renewable energy in electricity generation are 1.5% in 2010, 2.5% in 2015 and 4.5% in 2020. Use of the country’s solar resource is included in these targets. At the beginning of 2010 it was reported that a Ministerial MOU had been signed between Finland and Russia. The stated objective is that cooperation and shared knowledge will lead to greater energy efficiencies and improved utilisation of renewable energies.