Solar powered LED lights have been installed at the Heroes Square monument in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
The ‘modern lights’ were installed by Tbilservis Group, a company founded and owned by Tbilisi Municipality. The company says that the installation is part of a broader pilot programme to install similar systems around the city.
The lights are powered by solar panels — energy gained throughout the day is stored as electricity, and then used at night. The lights are turned on automatically at night by a sensor.
The Georgian Government has stressed the importance for the country of being less dependent on hydropower. Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze has supported the idea of subsidising construction of alternative and renewable energy sources.
The Government of Georgia has approved and modified the state Renewable Energy 2008 programme, which includes a list of potential greenfield projects and rules for construction of new renewable energy projects.
The Ministry of Energy is confident that considering geographical conditions in the country, the effective radiation of the sun is quite high in Georgia. In most regions, annual duration of sunshine ranges from 250 up to 280 days, amounting to approximately 1,900–2,200 hours per year, giving a total solar energy potential of 108 MW, they claim.
For now, Georgia’s solar energy generation is quite modest. Solar energy generation systems operate at Tbilisi International Airport, generating around 40% of the electricity the airport consumes, approximately 337,000 kWh electricity a year.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced on 24 January that research would be conducted in Georgia to examine the technical and economic conditions necessary to build a solar power plant in the country.
According to the Ministry of Energy, the country also has significant wind potential. They have evaluated the potential average annual electricity generation from wind to be 4 billion KWh, with an installed capacity of 1,500 MW.
The first and only wind power plant in Georgia opened on 6 October 2016 near Gori, a town in central Georgia’s Shida Kartli region. The total capacity of the Gori wind plant is 20.7 MW, and it is expected to generate 88 GW of power annually. The energy produced will, according to the ministry, be enough to provide electricity to some 20,000 households. The $34 million project was co-funded by both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Georgian Government.
However, the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in Georgia remains substantial. According to Georgia’s national investment agency, Invest in Georgia, In 2015, Georgia’s electricity generation reached 10.8 TWh, of which hydropower accounted for 78% (8.5 TWh).