Czech storage market on the starting blocks

So far, the Czech storage market is still manageable. Systems with a combined capacity of around 5 to 7 MW have been installed in the country, according to Jaroslav Dorda, Managing Director of the portal www.solarninovinky.cz. Due to various subsidy programs, demand will rise significantly in the coming years. Dorda expects approximately between 90 to 100 MW of storage to be installed by 2020, and the Czech Republic to become one of the leading storage markets in Eastern Europe.

In the private segment, there were about 1,000 installed photovoltaic home storage units with an average capacity between 5 and 10 kWh at the end of September 2017, according to Dorda. The most popular brands are BMZ, LG Chem, Sonnen and Pylon Tec. This year alone, Dorda expects the installation of 700 to 900 new systems, mostly based on lithium-ion technology. For 2018 to 2020 the forecasts are of 7000 to 10,000 new storage systems. The market is being driven by the new support “Nova Zelena Usporam” (NZU). Under the program, homeowners are entitled to receive a €5,700 Euro subsidy for the installation on single or multi-family houses of a PV system up to 10 kW of including storage. There is also a subsidy of €4,400 if an existing PV system is equipped with a battery storage, Dorda explained.

About five to seven commercial storage systems were installed by September; at the end of the year it would be ten. Their capacity is between 50 and 250 kW. Three of these installed systems were based on redox flow technology and had been installed in the Czech Republic in the frame of the Cellcube project by Gildemeister. Dorda also expects rapid progress in this market segment. At present, 70 to 100 new commercial and industrial storage units with capacities between 50 and 500 kWh would be installed in the country. The UK provider Red T Energy is also planning to build 30 new commercial redox flow storage systems in the Czech Republic.

Dorda’s expectations for the period 2018-2020 are 300 to 400 new commercial and industrial storage systems. There is an attractive support program for companies. With “Operacni program Podnikani a inovace pro konkurenceschopnost” (OPPIK) about 60 to 80% of the investment costs would be covered by the installation of the storage system – also in combination with a PV system not exceeding 1 MW in size. Currently, the budget for this funding is €77.5 million. In the middle of November, however, there was a new round with a further €232.5 million funding. Dorda therefore assumes that most commercial storage projects would be implemented between 2018 and 2019.

In the large-scale segment, the market is still at an early stage. Until now, only one redox flow system project has been implemented in the country. E.ON and Czech EPC Solarglobal will install two additional storage systems with a combined capacity of more than 1 MWh by the end of the year. The OPPIK program provides developers with funding of up to €3.8 million. These should also cover 60 to 80% of the investment costs of a storage facility with or without PV installations with a capacity of up to 1 MW.

Dorda is currently organizing the Smart Energy Forum, which will take place at the end of October. According to him, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced in September the new legislation for large-scale storage will be passed by parliament in the first half of 2018. This shows that the newly established Czech storage association AKUBAT has successfully carried out this work, Dorda added.