Czech Republic Installs 1 GW of Solar in 2023 as Households Drive Growth
Residential rooftop solar installations rose by 70% year-over-year in 2023
The Czech Republic installed nearly 1 GW of solar capacity in 2023, up 69% from 2022, as the central European nation targets to reduce total greenhouse emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Residential rooftop solar installations connected to the grid rose by nearly 70% over 2022, according to data from Czech Solarni Asociace (Solar Association).
About 80,000 household roofs were covered by solar modules last year, the data showed, with the average size of residential rooftop solar systems rising to 10.3 kW compared to an average size of 6.7 kW in 2022. Of these, 92% also installed battery storage with an average capacity of 12 kWh.
Additionally, waiting times for installing the projects were reduced as more solar companies entered the fray. The increased competition, however, brought down margins for the companies, Jan Krčmář, executive director of the Solar Association, said.
Corporations installed more than 2,500 solar projects for captive consumption in 2023, with a total output of around 140 MW. Most of these projects were developed using subsidies from the National Recovery Plan, which is intended to increase the resistance of the Czech economy to crises.
The plan aims to invest €907 million (~$985 million) in the installation of renewable energy projects for both households and businesses.
“Producing energy from a photovoltaic power project for captive consumption is one of the simplest steps for companies to have a significant part of their operating costs pre-determined and protect themselves against rising energy prices,” said Krčmář.
Large-scale solar projects lagging
Although an increase in residential and commercial solar installations was witnessed in 2023, large-scale solar projects missed the mark. The trade body, however, sees investors focusing on large solar projects in 2024 as subsidies from the European Union’s Modernization Fund roll in.
The fund, with revenues from the EU’s Emissions Trading program, supports 13 member states, including the Czech Republic, in meeting energy targets by modernizing energy systems and improving energy efficiency. The fund disbursed €1.34 billion ($1.45 billion) to the Czech Republic in December of 2022.
“Today’s growth is driven by residential and commercial rooftop solar,” said Krčmář. “However, if we want to use the potential of solar energy in the Czech Republic and, above all, to prepare for the scenario where coal-fired power plants will be shut down earlier than expected, we must add to the development of solar parks.”
While over 90% of households installed battery storage on-site, only 1.4% of photovoltaic projects over 1 MW had energy storage. Energy stored in batteries can be used whenever the grid operator needs it, including after the sun has set.
Solar output from all projects in the Czech Republic reached almost 3.5 GW in 2023. More than 170,000 solar projects are connected to the grid, of which over 150,000 are residential rooftop solar.
In September last year, the European Parliament approved the update to its Renewable Energy Directive, which raises the share of renewables in Europe’s final energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030.