Following 2 years of almost no solar activity, predictions are that between 100 and 120 MW of photovoltaics will be installed in 2012 in the Czech Republic. Rooftop systems are said to be leading this growth.
According to SolarniNovinky founder, Jaroslav Dorda, the Czech photovoltaic market is set for a (minor) comeback. Since January 2012, he says 12,000 new photovoltaic projects have received grid connection and construction approval.
The growth is said to have come on the back of changed attitudes of the country’s 3 utility companies, CEZ, PRE and E.On, which have reportedly "decided to enable the interconnection of new small PV systems (up to 30 kWp) into the grids".
In 2010, the Czech Transmission Grid Operator (CEPS) stopped the interconnection of all new photovoltaic plants to the grid, thus halting the once booming solar industry in the Czech Republic. The government also introduced a 26% retroactive solar tax and scrapped all support for ground-mounted projects.
However, Dorda argues that the increase in new approvals could be more significant. Despite the positive photovoltaic progress made by the utilities, he believes there are still issues to be addressed. For instance, he says CEZ and E.On are denying grid connection for "strange reasons", including danger of collapse of the local distribution grids.
Furthermore, he says CEZ requires all plants bigger than 4.5 kWp to be equipped with 3-phase inverters. "Only Kostal with its 3-phase Piko range seems to have been able to meet the needs of the present Czech solar market. Its small inverters are extremely sought-after in the country," he claims.
Overall, Dorda predicts that between 100 and 120 MW of photovoltaics will be installed in 2012, up from just 6 MW in 2011. He continues, "Next year the FIT tariffs will be reduced by approximately 30% depending on the decision of the Energy Regulation Office which will be officially published in November 2012. In spite of tariff cuts, the solar boom in the Czech Republic is very likely to continue in 2013. The reason is ... many people [are] building “island PV or hybrid PV systems” without any subsidies at all."
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