Slovak homeowners want more solar and storage

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Although the Slovak solar market has been growing at a very slow pace over the past four years, the interest of homeowners for solar energy solutions remains strong, as is evident in the response to the latest round of the eastern European country’s Green Houses Program (Zelená domácnostiam) rebate scheme for small-size solar and renewables installations.

According to the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA), all of the funds for the rebates, which were granted to residential PV projects with a capacity of up to 10 kW, and located outside Bratislava  territory, were allocated in just nine minutes after the round was launched via the program’s online portal.

As in previous rounds, incentives were granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

SEIA stressed that of the 588 awarded licenses, only 143 did not include a storage system. Overall, around €1.65 million in incentives were allocated in the round, which was exclusively devoted to solar PV. A second round of this kind is set to be launched in the second half of this year.

The total budget for the EU funded program in 2018 is €14 million, and a quarter of this will be assigned for PV. The program is also suppirts the installation of solar water heaters, heat pumps and small windmills.

“The latest round of Zelená domácnostiam was similar to all other previous ones. The only difference was, that there was a relatively higher amount of finances available (€1.6 million) compared with previous rounds,” said Peter Uhlík from the Slovak Association of Photovoltaic Industry (SAPI) .

The scheme, which is set to expire this year, has been responsible for the weak solar growth registered in the country over the past four years: around 20 MW. In 2014 and 2015, newly installed PV capacity was around 4 MW and 2 MW respectively, while new additions for 2016 totaled around 5 MW.

In 2017, according to preliminary estimations provided to pv magazine by SAPI, newly installed PV systems reached just 3 MW.

At the end of 2016, Slovakia had a cumulative installed solar PV capacity of around 560 MW, according to the association. Most of this, over 500 MW, was installed between 2010 and 2011, when a generous FIT scheme for large-scale PV plants was introduced, and then rapidly closed.