The purchase price of electrical energy guaranteed by the government for 20 to 30 years helps to boost the development of projects based on renewable energy sources, in particular solar energy. There are not that many sectors that offer so attractive investments in terms of the rate and certainty of return. Komerční banka has prepared a new business model and put together a team of specialists for the financing of renewables.

"Government support is a factor that plays an important role for investors when they decide on renewable electricity projects. It is mainly reflected in the level of the guaranteed feed-in tariffs, which are some of the highest in Europe," says Lucie Kudrnová, head of marketing for businesses and municipalities at Komerční banka. For example, as regards photovoltaic power plants feed-in tariffs of EUR 0.53/kWh, EUR 0.26/kWh and EUR 0.30/kWh are currently guaranteed in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and France, respectively.

Komerční banka prepare the new business model, which accommodates those who are interested in these projects and the same time KB has therefore set up a team of specialists dedicated solely to the use of renewables. These specialists will provide clients with support and advice at the stage of preparations for the project, during its implementation, and also after its completion. They will help to draw up the business plan, select the optimum structure of financing and, if subsidies are used, align the conditions of project implementation with those of a specific subsidy title.

"Investors can approach us with their green-field photovoltaic projects as well as those intended to cover the demand of their manufacturing or other operating premises to replace a part of the electricity supplies they are taking,” adds Lucie Kudrnová. Komerční banka's solution is intended for all businesses with an annual turnover of more than CZK 30 million and for the public and non-profit sectors (municipalities and regions, public service companies and private/public joint ventures).

Support from the European Union

Specialists in the financing of renewables closely cooperate with KB EU Point experts, who provide clients with advice on subsidies from EU funds and other sources of subsidies. "Our objective is to assist with every project to make the maximum use of the limited subsidy resources while making the actual payback period as short as possible," says Jan Hanuš, Head of Municipalities and Public Support Programs, KB EU POINT.

Boom in solar energy

The Czech Republic has considerable room for increasing the share of alternative energy sources. In line with its obligations to the EU, by 2010 the Czech Republic should produce 8% of the electricity that it consumes from renewable energy sources. However, this share is currently only about 4.7%.

Thanks to the financial support provided by the government and the relatively easy project implementation in both technical and administrative terms, solar energy is a rapidly developing area. The installed capacity of solar power plants in the Czech Republic increased by approximately 47 MW last year and by another 16 MW last January alone. Some experts estimate that by 2010 the cumulated solar capacity will amount to 200 to 250 MW in the Czech Republic. On the global scale, by 2020 solar capacity may be 20 to 40 times grater than today.

Komerční banka is one of the best run universal banks in Central Europe. It provides comprehensive services to clients in the areas of retail, corporate, and investment banking. The Komerční banka Group's 8,804 employees serve 1,629,000 clients, who can use an extensive network of 394 points of sale throughout the country. Komerční banka currently operates 673 ATMs and more than 951,000 of its clients use one of direct banking channels.

Komerční banka is part of the Société Générale Group, one of the largest banking groups in the euro zone (in terms of market capitalisation), whose 163,000 employees serve more than 30 million individual clients worldwide.