15. July 2022
One of the most experienced domestic solar energy companies, SOLEK HOLDING of entrepreneur Zdeněk Sobotka, has solar power plants with a capacity of almost 200 MW connected to the grid. After ten years of construction concentrated on foreign markets, the Czech company has now announced that it wants to develop projects at home. This is mainly due to the company's shift towards renewables and the rehabilitation of the Czech sustainable energy market.
The Czech company SOLEK HOLDING SE has been in the solar energy business for more than ten years. Its key market is South American Chile, where it is considered a leader in the development of sustainable energy. It owns and operates power plants in the country, transfers others to smaller funds, and is also working on the construction of solar plants for the world's largest investment group - the US-based Black Rock. It has one power plant in the country so far, but that is about to change.
"Times have changed and it is important for me personally to be involved not only in the conversation about the development of sustainable energy in this country but also in the construction itself. With the experience we have from abroad, we want to build power plants in the Czech Republic with a capacity of hundreds of megawatts in the next three years," explains Zdeněk Sobotka, owner and founder of the company.
Solar power plants should be more affordable
In the Czech Republic, SOLEK is now focusing on building power plants mainly on rooftops and wants to reach out to companies and municipalities with its experience and resources. "We have experience in building small power plants and projects with an installed capacity of more than 10 megawatts. But in the case of commercial and community rooftops, we can take full advantage of our experience in designing very complex projects and connecting them to the distribution grid," says Zdeněk Sobotka, who sees the future direction of his business in the Czech Republic in rooftop construction on commercial and municipal buildings.
So far, interest in both types of projects is growing in the Czech Republic, and subsidy programs are helping significantly. Companies are most often trying to amortize their own high energy consumption, while so-called community projects are bringing the benefits of solar power plants to those who would not otherwise make the high initial investment. Therefore, not only large cities and towns but also smaller municipalities and their associations are interested in them. Through the RES+ subsidy program, public entities can receive even higher subsidy support than private applicants, up to 75 % of eligible costs. SOLEK will also assist its clients with subsidy applications, in conjunction with Leon Taurus consultants.
195 megawatts of experience
Sobotka's company is approaching the two hundred megawatts installed milestone abroad. Last year alone, it connected 69 megawatts of solar power to the grid, more than the entire Czech Republic could boast. It now has as many as eight times as many new Czech power plants in the advanced stages of preparation. But almost all of them are being built in Chile. The company has also installed smaller projects in Romania, Slovakia, and, most recently last year, Cyprus.
Zdeněk Sobotka says he chose Chile as a key market because of its optimal lighting conditions, transparent market, and culture close to that of Europe. But he also sees the Czech Republic as a strategic location for solar construction. "Despite the lower annual total of incident solar energy, domestic solar projects have the advantage of mild winters and a climate that extends the life of the panels and reduces maintenance requirements," the company owner says, citing reasons that make an investment in solar panels worthwhile even if energy prices fall.
The solar developer wants to offer companies and municipalities in the country not only the design and construction of power plants but also assistance with the selection of subsidy programs and documentation associated with the application for subsidies, including connection to the grid. The projects also include an interconnection with a battery system that allows solar energy to be drawn even during night hours or power outages, and subsequent service and remote monitoring of the power plants' performance. The company already monitors its power plants abroad from a monitoring center at its Czech headquarters and plans to offer the same service to Czech clients.
"In the Czech Republic, the energy revolution is happening from below, and with the support of the government, which is only a good thing. The Czech Republic's energy independence from Russia and other countries cannot be achieved without the rapid and responsible construction of its own sustainable projects. Solar is, therefore, a strategic solution," concludes Zdeněk Sobotka.