AFI supports industrial companies in photovoltaic installations

Thursday, April 20, 2023

In the Czech Republic, there are thousands of industrial halls suitable for the location of photovoltaic power plants. The decisive factor here is the statics of the building and the load-bearing capacity of the roof. The size of the hall or its age are secondary factors. 

This was the result of a professional seminar organized by the non-profit Association for Foreign Investment (AFI). Its aim is to support companies that invest in the Czech Republic and build production plants, development centers and other projects here.

"The Czech Republic experienced a strong inflow of foreign capital at the turn of the millennium. A large number of companies were established here that became important employers and driving force of Czech industry. The energy intensity of these factories often corresponds to the time of their establishment twenty or more years ago. Our goal is to help companies get closer to today's needs, whether in terms of environmental protection, energy independence, or reducing their energy expenditures," says Kamil Blažek, AFI Chairman.

"Strengthening the capacity of distribution networks and balancing resources as quickly as possible will play a key role. So that the connection of renewable sources is in many cases technically possible – here it is necessary to improve legislation in building permits and regulation," adds Blažek.

A necessary condition for the implementation of an industrial solar power plant is a building permit, the basis of which is also a static opinion. It most often depends on it whether it will be possible to install the plant.

"From the point of view of the bearing capacity of the roof, there are new halls that have been designed without a reserve, so they cannot support a standard photovoltaic structure. At the same time, we have some halls from the sixties, where, on the contrary, the statics are fully satisfactory. The key is how robustly the hall has been designed and how much load it already bears," says Aleš Spáčil, co-owner of the Czech company GreenBuddies. It provides complete solutions for turnkey solar power plant projects and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

At least partial energy self-sufficiency and energy consumption from the sun are also possible for halls with low load capacity, but it is a more expensive solution. "For these situations, we purchase components from a foreign manufacturer, whose panels do not require a classic construction for assembly but are glued to special soft rails. Also, the panels themselves are very light in this system, so the load on the roof drops to a fraction of the load of conventional panels," Spáčil explains.

The key parameters for placing a photovoltaic power plant on the roof of industrial buildings are roof slope, roofing, the existence of skylights and others. They affect not only the slope of the panels, but also their layout and possible shielding or location of cabling.

Power plants can also be placed on smaller industrial halls, but in general, thanks to economies of scale, they bring the greatest efficiency over large areas.

More than two thousand successful investment projects have been created in the Czech Republic through the government agency CzechInvest alone. Thousands of other plants have sprung up in the territory of the republic during its long industrial history.

"In the 30 years of our agency's existence, we have brought investors from more than 30 countries to the Czech Republic, from the USA and European countries through the Middle East or South Africa to Asian countries – Singapore, Korea, Japan or China. Together, they have created over 300,000 jobs and we know that the topic of sustainable energy is very topical for investors and energy prices can play a significant role in their decision-making. We have long supported value-added projects, which undoubtedly include energy self-sufficiency, and we also do many activities to support community energy," says Denisa Fukalová, head of CzechInvest's Investment and Foreign Activities Division.

The seminar brought together experts on legislative, technical and tax issues together with experts on subsidies and risk insurance. Together, they presented to company representatives the possibilities of using alternative sources to create energy self-sufficiency and reduce costs at the same time. After Prague, the seminar also takes place in Brno.

"We concentrate huge know-how in the field of photovoltaics in one place. We want investors to have the opportunity to appreciate their investment and contribute to the prosperity of the Czech economy," adds Kamil Blažek.

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