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Czechia needs a clear political commitment to solar

The subsidy programs for household and commercial rooftop solar projects were updated in the last few weeks in Czechia, simplifying the terms of instalment for rooftop owners and installers and increasing interest in solar energy across the country as a consequence.

“Installers are getting phone calls for new roof-top projects non-stop,” said Jan Krčmarž, Chairman of the Czech Solar Energy Association during SEF 2021 DIGITAL, the annual Sustainable Energy Forum and Trade Show of Central and Eastern Europe which took place on October 27-28.

“But all of this is clashing with the reality of the [solar] market which has been dead for years”, he remarked. According to Mr Krčmarž, one effect of the stall of the domestic market has been the mass exodus of the local solar companies who left the country to operate in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Spain and even Australia “because the situation is far more stable there than at home”, Mr Krčmarž added.

The solar energy sector in Czechia has endured several challenges over the last few years. The government’s measures to tame the uncontrolled boom and unanticipated costs of subsidies in 2009-2010 have resulted in cutting feed-in-tariff scheme for solar by 26 per cent, revoking already announced tax breaks and incentives, making it an effectively unattractive sector for investors as a result.

These unfavourable conditions have been compounded by the government’s support for nuclear energy and the membership of the country in the European Union’s nuclear alliance.

Karel Havlíček, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of Czechia, earlier this month has argued that “nuclear is an affordable source of the carbon-free electricity that can provide a large volume of competitive electricity” without increasing the country’s dependence on energy supplies from third countries.

At the end of May, under the European Union’s Modernisation Fund, a subsidy scheme was launched for large photovoltaic projects in Czechia but with years of inactivity on the market, absence of plans for power storage, and problems with grid capacity, the rate and scale of solar energy development could easily hamper.

MrKrčmarž also feared that with high energy prices, larger projects are increasingly interesting for companies and investors, “so we might see a situation where companies might choose large-scale solar or large-scale commercial rooftops rather than small households which means that families and other consumers might fall through the cracks”, he emphasised.

Czechia needs political commitment to solar according to him.

“Had we not seen years of the anti-solar smear campaigns, more companies would be active, tens of thousands of households and companies could already be protected against soaring energy prices”, Mr Krčmarž concluded.

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