The Czech Republic is using CZK 55 billion ($2.5 billion) in additional funding for the New Green Savings program, which includes rooftop electricity rebates among other energy-saving measures in the residential sector.
The urgency of last year’s energy crisis created a huge interest in energy saving subsidies. The 19 billion Czech crowns allocated from the national recovery plan to finance the New Green Savings program were spent two years earlier than planned.
“Just in the last year and a half, from October 2021, a record number of 110,000 households applied for support. This clearly exceeded the total number of applications received during the previous seven years of the program, Environment Minister Petr Hladik said. “For example, the demand for solar electricity discounts has tripled annually.”
The New Green Savings program was launched in 2014 and has supported 180,000 households with 22 billion CZK. Its initial focus was on energy conservation in the residential sector by renovating and building low-energy single-family and apartment buildings. However, most of the funding is now used for roof electricity discounts.
The Czech government managed to negotiate an additional 55 billion koruna for the modernization fund, which was established by the European Union in 2021 to help 10 member states upgrade their networks and meet their 2030 energy goals. So far, the resources of the modernization fund have only been available for utility-scale solar power plants in the Czech Republic.
According to the Czech government, the revised program brings many improvements. The process of submitting a support payment is simplified. Some criteria are lightened and the obligation to deliver invoices and project documentation is removed.
In addition, the new program should make the New Green Savings Light subsidy more accessible to vulnerable groups such as senior citizens and low-income households. Subsidies for more demanding home changes are automatically increased. For new buildings, the support is directed to buildings where the energy saving effect would be the greatest. In addition to this, support is offered for replacing old gas boilers with heat pumps, including grants for retrofits up to 5,701 euros.
After a short technical and operational break needed to implement the new procedures, the program will start again in September. According to the existing conditions, all applicants with ongoing projects are recommended to submit their applications by June 30. More detailed support conditions in the renewed program will be introduced gradually in the coming months, the ministry said.
Jan Krcmar, president of the Czech Solar Energy Association (CSA), said the transition is expected to be smooth and applications are not expected to be rushed by the end of June.
“We are very positive about this, but we also hope that the updated program will be able to respond to the current market situation,” Krcmar said. pv magazine. “Grid bottlenecks currently mean that in some areas, customers can only connect new PV without any additional energy being fed into the grid, and they have long waiting times for PV to connect, sometimes more than six months.”
Since the payment of the discount is tied to joining, many customers wait almost a year to receive the money. This has a side effect on installers, who usually only get full payment after the discount, Krcmar explained.