Photovoltaics is the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the entire European Union. The transition to renewables is accelerating considerably due to the current situation in the energy market, which has had to switch rapidly to methods that guarantee maximum stability. This trend is confirmed by recent statistics showing that, for the first time, solar and wind power plants have significantly exceeded the amount of energy supplied by coal and gas-fired power plants. In 2022, a record 22 per cent of the EU's electricity came from these green sources, compared with 20 per cent from gas and only 16 per cent from coal. To put this in perspective, just a decade ago, when there were already quite a few solar and wind power plants, these two renewable sources were responsible for less than ten percent of the energy, with gas and coal having a significant advantage.
Current trends in the Czech republic
The upward trend in renewables is also evident in the Czech market, where, although photovoltaics still account for a marginal share of the overall mix, they have improved year-on-year from 3.4 per cent to 3.8 per cent in 2022. For example, brownfield sites that are currently unused, new technology with the possibility to grow agricultural crops under the panels, as well as modifications to the law that would allow the installation of panels with a capacity of up to 50 kW without the need to apply for a building permit, all show great potential for the development of solar energy. Significant advances can also be seen in the technology itself - panel efficiency has doubled in the last ten years, according to the Solar Energy Association, and photovoltaics in general have become 92 per cent cheaper over the last thirty years. According to Zdeněk Hruška, Director of the Development and Technical Concept of the Transmission System section within CEPS, solar energy production in the Czech Republic in 2030 could equal the output of one unit of the Temelín nuclear power plant.
NKT has been involved in the development of photovoltaics and thus in providing clean energy for the domestic market for many years, supplying 1kV cables and high-voltage cables for the most powerful solar power plants in the Czech Republic in the first wave of the "solar boom". These include, for example, the largest FVA Ralsko Ra 1 with an installed capacity of 55.8 MW, launched in 2010, when it was the 12th largest photovoltaic power plant in the world. We have also been involved in the Vepřek PV plant in the Mělník district with a capacity of 35.1 MW, where almost 200,000 panels are installed, or the 10MW Letkov power plant in the Pilsen region. The long-standing experience with the most powerful solar energy sources not only in the Czech Republic is now even more relevant in the context of the accelerating development of renewable energy sources throughout Europe.