|Sustainable Energy News - No. 17 - Adult Education - African Waste (INFORSE, 1997, 20 p.)|
By Eduard Gismatullin, Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaign, Russia
"If there is a fairy-tale, then it's the solar station"
Russian-made photovoltaics (PV) are used to supply home appliances in a village called Morozovsky in the south of Russia. The village is 1.000 Km to the south of Moscow and the farm is about 2 km away from the nearest grid. In 1994, Victor Titov bought a PV station with a total production capacity of 500W from a local PV production company Saturn. The whole installation was done by the company, and it cost about 5,000 USD. The installation can provide electricity at 24V and 220V.
As the farmer Titov said: 'If there is a fairy-tale, then it's the solar station'. With the help of the PV station, the family can use now a fridge, television, stereo center, lights, and even welding equipment. This is enough for them in the summertime. In winter, the family lives in a winter house, which is part of the village and has a supply of electricity from the network.
The PV station is called FES-0,5/24-220. As the company says, it is environmentally friendly while in operation, but there are some environmental problems during the production technology, which have been almost eliminated.
Electricity is accumulated in a battery during the day and then can be consumed when it is needed. The station consists of 10 solar modules of the model "Saturn" BC-50/50, 10 batteries of 6ST-60, an inverter with a control panel, a frame, and wires. The lifespan of the station is expected to be 20 years, and the company is providing 10 years of warranty on the PV panels.
Russian Space Technology, 95 % Sells Abroad
The above-mentioned Saturn Company was established almost 30 years ago to produce PV panels for Russian satellites and spacecraft. It also produces small rechargeable batteries for use in space technology. But, now that Russia launches fewer satellites than it once did, the company sells PV abroad in order to survive. The company is working with various foreign partners: Germany, Laos, Morocco, Israel, the South African Republic, Tunisia, etc. It produces about 1MW of PV a year, of which 95% is sold abroad. The company works in co-operation with the research institute KNIN in Moscow and with the Aluminum-Metallurgical Plant in Kamensk-Uralsk in the Urals. The average price of the PV module is 4-5 USD per 1W. For the whole solar system, including: batteries, a frame to hold the PV panels, electric wires, inverters, etc. the price is about 10 USD per 1W.
In Russia, there are at least 17 companies that are involved in the production of PV. The total annual capacity across the country is at least 2 MW. The number of the companies and the capacity can be more than this, but there is no real information flow where it would be possible to get all the information about this type of equipment. The companies have to survive despite that there is almost no market for these products in the country. Thus, almost 95% of their products for solar electricity production is sold abroad.
In Russia, itself, the total capacity of installed PV systems is about 1 MW (IEA Survey '95: "Energy Policies of the Russian Federation"). They are placed in research institutes, houses, laboratories, border-guard check points, TV transmitters, etc. The average size of PV panels in Russia is around 0.5 m, but sizes vary, depending on the purpose.
Russian Solar Potential
Russia is situated to the north of the most effective solar zone, called "the solar belt," which is located between the latitudes of 40 degrees south and 40 degrees north. Yet, Russia's solar energy potential is still considerable.
The most favourable regions for solar energy use are the regions of Astrakhan, Volgograd, Chita, Buryatia, Krasnodarsky, Primorsky, and Stavropolsky, according to Russian experts.
Utilising this potential would require a shift of governmental support and of international loans from the conventional and nuclear power to the solar technologies, i.e., PV and thermal solar collectors.
Alexandr Titov, the farmer's son, and the PV-station in Morozovsky, Russia. Photos by: Eduard Gismatullin.
- JSC Saturn Company: 350 072 Krasnodar, Solnechnaya str., 8,
Ph: +7-8612-578 205, 540 776, fax: +7-8612-543 595,
- Greenpeace Russia: Dolgorukovskaya str, 21 Moscow 103006, Russia.
Ph: 7-095-9784917 fax: 7-095-2519088, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,