The country’s Ministry of Defence has decided to ban large scale solar plants in some regions bordering Russia claiming that these facilities may affect radio system performance. State-owned utility Eesti Energia is opposing this measure, stating the interested regions are the most suitable for the construction of big solar plants.

Estonia‘s Ministry of Defence has halted permitting for large scale solar and renewable energy projects in northeastern Estonia, claiming that these facilities may reduce radio system performance in the region.

“The restrictions in the northeastern part of Estonia are not new,” a spokesman from state-owned energy company Eesti Energia told pv magazine. “Before, the restrictions have mainly covered wind turbines but now we see restrictions also for solar.”

He also stressed that there is currently no specific regulation on these kind of restrictions in Estonia and that, however, final approval by the Ministry of Defence is needed for the development of solar parks in the northeastern region in Estonia, which is the most suitable in terms of space and grid capacity for the construction of utility scale projects.

“Now, if the Ministry of Defence is of the opinion that national security could be somehow threatened, then it does not give its approval for new solar parks in the region, thus limiting the possible areas,” the spokesperson went on to say.

According to local media outlet The Baltic Times, the Estonian government said that the increase in the level of radio-frequency background radiation caused by new solar parks may reduce the reception distance of received radio signals.

The restrictions will affect, mostly, several projects under development in East-Viru county, where there are several depleted mines and surfaces with low agricultural value.

Estonia had an installed PV capacity of around 130MW at the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The country is currently supporting solar through auctions for large scale renewables and a feed-in premium scheme limited to generators up to 50kW.