Czech solar market shows first signs of revival in residential segment


The Czech Republic reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of around 2.08 GW at the end of 2016, according to provisional statistics provided to pv magazine by local association Solární Asociace.

Last year, 4.83 MW of residential PV systems were connected to the grid. In 2014 and 2015, new additions totaled 2.6 MW and 1.1 MW, respectively. According to Veronika Hamackova from Solární Asociace, however, these numbers do not include PV systems installed without licenses.

The last year of real growth was 2013, with around 55 MW of newly installed PV power. Most of the country’s PV capacity comes from MW-sized PV plants that were installed between 2008 and 2013, when a very generous FIT scheme was closed.

Last year’s slight growth was mainly due to the Green Savings Programme (Zelená úsporám), a support program for sustainable buildings and energy savings launched in 2014. The program enables, among other things, the installation of small rooftop PV systems. The residential segment received a remarkable push from the program last year, taking into account that no net-metering mechanism has ever been put in place in the Czech Republic.

Solární Asociace's Hamackova explained that the program provides homeowners with investment support, and that commercial users can also get investment support for new solar installations, but there are limits – it can only be in combination with other measures, such as improving the energy efficiency of the company.

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“Last year's experience” – said Hamackova – “showed growing interest for new solar energy in the residential segment, but there is little awareness of the opportunities to gain support for new renewable sources. The Czech Ministry of Environment should improve communication.”

Under the program, more than 21,000 applications were submitted to local authorities over the past three years. Of these applications, which would require a budget of 4.9 billion CZK ($1.9 million), 18,000 were approved to date. Aggregate financial support of approximately 1.2 billion CZK ($472,353) is currently being paid out to over 9,000 projects. Over 5,000 projects, worth around 1 billion CZK in investment support, were approved in 2016 alone.

Thermal insulation projects are the most popular, followed by the change of heating systems and the installation of a rooftop PV power systems.

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