Business New fixed system of grants for energy efficient homes to also boost solar

22-10-2015 13:28 | Ian Willoughby

Between now and 2021 the state will make a total of CZK 27 billion available to Czechs wishing to make their homes more energy efficient. Presenting the New Green Savings scheme on Wednesday, the minister of the environment, Richard Brabec, said homeowners would be able to apply for subsidies at any time over the next six years.

Photo: European CommissionPhoto: European Commission Minister Brabec said the new scheme was aimed at enabling people to draw in a stress-free manner on funding for renovation work that would allow them to save tens of thousands of crowns in the future.

Deputy Environment Minister Jan Kříž said the New Green Savings programme would be more stable and predictable than the previous scheme of this type, which allowed applications for a period of several months only.

In the past conditions changed during the course of the programme, meaning some applicants prepared projects according to pararmeters that ceased to apply, causing them to miss out on the state support, Mr. Kříž said.

Funding for the scheme comes the sale of emissions permits. The Ministry of the Environment has earmarked some CZK 520 million for it this year and CZK 2.85 billion for 2016. Individual projects can put in for a maximum of CZK 5 million.

Another major new feature of the scheme is support for small solar power systems. Grants will now be available for solar systems for powering homes and heating water. Those who invest in such technology can apply for support of up to CZK 100,000.

This trend will increase renewables’ share of overall power production and deliver cost savings without placing a burden on the state coffers in the coming years, said Mr. Brabec.

Homeowners can request financial assistance for replacing windows and doors, installing insulation and substituting a heat pump or solar system for their current heating set-up. The construction of low-energy buildings also qualifies for support.

As under the previous scheme the level of subsidy is linked to savings achieved and may cover up to half of total expenditures on a project.

According to Czech Television, the Alliance for Energy Independence, a non-governmental organisation, believes that up to 1,500 projects could receive grants in the first wave of the freshly launched scheme.

Some environmentalists worry that hopes for cheaper, cleaner power and greater self-sufficiency could be undermined by decrees currently being prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in conjunction with large energy firms and the Energy Regulatory Office.

Martin Mikeska of the Czech branch of Friends of the Earth told Czech Television that the plans could end up seeing CEZ and other large producers benefitting rather than households.

The Industry Ministry denies this suggestion, insisting that planned amendments to a decree on energy measuring would merely clarify existing regulations.

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