The Czech Republic is actually the #3 country in the world for solar power per capita. Unfortunately, the feed-in tariff policy that spurred the growth was cut a couple of years ago, and solar has practically been banned from the country since then. Nonetheless, some Czech businessmen and investors must have gotten a first-hand sense for the potential that lies in solar power. So, it’s not all that surprising that the Czech group of companies called Ekotechnik Czech is looking to invest a whopping €400 million into some solar power plants in solar-ripe Ukraine.
The power plants will be located in the Khmelnytskyi oblast. They’ll have a total power capacity of 160 MW when completed.
From a press release regarding the matter: “Ekotechnik Czech’s intention to invest into Ukraine’s photovoltaic market is recorded in the memorandum between the company’s representative in Ukraine – Ekotechnik Ukraine – and Khmelnytskyi administration. The photovoltaic units will be installed in 14 districts: Dunavets, Khmelnytsk, Vinkovets, Yarmolynets, Novoushytsk, Kamianets-Podolskyi, etc. In total, Ukrainian authorities plan to lease approximately 400 hectares to the company for the construction purposes.”
Aside from improving the local environment (which I think is the focus) and balancing electricity grid there better (another seeming focus), the projects will create 230 jobs. They are also projected to increase the local jurisdictions’ budgets by about $4.4 million (€3.3 million).
This isn’t the first Ukraine investment the Czech company has made, and it’s not intended to be the last. “In October 2012, Ekotechnik Czech completed the construction and put into operation the first solar power plant in Ukraine with designed capacity of 5 MW in Yasenovka, Khmelnitskyi region. The company also plans to engage in solar power plants construction in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zakarpattia, Vinnytsia, and other regions of Ukraine. According to the Czech company’s website, their assets portfolio in Ukraine exceeds 220 MW.”
Despite its grey weather and less than stellar economy, Ukraine has been on a big solar power run in recent years. It is home to what was for a brief time the largest solar power plant in Europe — the 105-MW Perovo solar park. And it built 20 power plants totaling 270 MW within the past 3 years (including the Perovo solar power plant).
“Macquarie Research forecasts that by 2016 Ukraine will introduce solar power plants with the capacity of 1.8 GW — an equivalent of two nuclear reactors. In December 2012, the President of the European Renewable Energy Federation, Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, reckoned that the use of renewable energy would allow to significantly cut the volume of energy import in Ukraine, as well as strengthen the independence of the country. In October 2012, Ukraine made a commitment to the European Energy Community to increase renewable energy share in its energy balance up to 11 percent by 2020.”