Assessment of the barriers towards more rapid development of solar power: the case of Lithuania
Many countries in the world pay special attention to the development of energy from renewable energy sources. However, the efforts made are still insufficient to ensure the desired pace of development. Moreover, independence from fossil fuels is more important than ever in the context of the war in Ukraine. Solar-photovoltaic energy production solutions are particularly attractive for achieving the desired scale of development due to their relatively simple deployment. However, to involve a larger number of prosumers – individuals and communities, it is necessary to further reduce the barriers to such an activity. Although researchers pay considerable attention to the development of energy from renewable energy sources, the topic of solar energy is not so well explored. In addition, it is noted that research on barriers that prevent development should be linked to the situation in a particular country. Therefore, the goal of the research presented in this work is to assess the importance of solar-photovoltaic energy development barriers specific to Lithuania. The literature review was carried out to consider specific barriers to solar energy development and to analyse barriers typical for the development of other sorts of renewable energy. This review allowed us to distinguish barriers relevant to more rapid solar-photovoltaic energy development in Lithuania, dividing them into five groups: (1) economic and financial, (2) policy and regulation, (3) institutional and administrative, (4) information, awareness, and social, and (5) technological barriers. An assessment of the barriers was based on the expert interview method. The individual evaluations of barriers and their rating determined their importance toward more rapid solar-photovoltaic power development in Lithuania. The results obtained during the research made it possible to single out the following main barriers specific to Lithuania: grid capacity and integration into electricity distribution grids; spatial planning and/or zoning rules; permitting, licensing, and approval procedures; changing and/or unclear policies; grid usage fees and their regulation; low electricity price and/or cost of other sources of electricity. In addition, insights into to the ways of their neutralisation or at least reduction were provided pointing out that it should be considered at both the state and municipal levels.