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With vision and determination for RES

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With vision and determination for RES

With the CEO of the SOLEK Group, Zdenek Sobotka, we had the opportunity to talk the previous days, who revealed to us the strategic plan of SOLEK, for Cyprus. A young man, with a vision and thirst for investment activities in our country, Mr. Sobotka unfolds the principles that any good entrepreneur should have. On the occasion of the inauguration of the first pilot photovoltaic park of the SOLEK Group in the area of Athienou, we discussed the company's plans, how it has experienced its contact with the Cypriot authorities in relation to investment activities and at the same time sent its own of the message. A message of optimism for better days to come.

Why did you choose Cyprus for investments?

First we have to emphasize that we started 11 years ago in the European market and specifically in the Czech Republic, while then we expanded to Slovakia and Romania. However, there were some problems that had arisen in these countries and therefore, we decided to leave there and expand elsewhere. So in 2014 we decided to invest in Chile because there are no subsidies in this country, but the fact that electricity prices were high gave us extra incentive. Apart from that, this country has stability but also sunshine, factors that were important for us to invest there.

As for your question why we chose Cyprus are exactly the same reasons, ie there is enough sunshine and high electricity prices. But even with high electricity prices, one can enter the market, reduce prices and have a significant profit margin. This helps consumers to enjoy cheap electricity and on the other hand the business is profitable.

What is your experience with the Cypriot authorities? The problem of bureaucracy?

We recognize that bureaucracy is an issue, but we hope to overcome any difficulties. However, we believe that our business model remains profitable, which will help consumers and push for market liberalization. The positive element is that we see that the government in Cyprus wants to increase the production of energy from RES.

What is your investment plan for Cyprus?

Our investment plan for Cyprus is to produce 150MW in photovoltaics and 150MWh in energy storage batteries, which translates into investments of over 200 million euros. Our first pilot project has cost more than one million euros, but we have put a lot of effort into these investments, for permits and installation, which also had a corresponding cost. However, we expect to amortize it and make our business plan which we have designed profitable. One of the biggest problems is that the power supply network, such as the Carrier and the Distributor, are centralized and therefore in order to improve this network and to create large projects we will have to make substations. To this end, in recent days we have had contacts with competent authorities where we have shown our readiness and willingness to invest not only in photovoltaics, but also in substations. We are in an advanced process to invest in a combination of photovoltaics and substations. We are working on the grouping of photovoltaic parks which will be served by a substation in which SOLEK will invest. We hope that in three to five years we will be able to reach 150 MW. We believe that there are good opportunities here in terms of solar energy, we can produce over the years energy equal to 1,500MW to meet the needs of Cyprus per day and we will be able to store it at the same time. In addition, we intend to invest in energy storage in special batteries. Therefore, we are well on our way to our business model in Cyprus.

What sets SOLEK apart from other companies in the sector?

What makes SOLEK stand out is the technological innovation in the field in which it operates. We are the first in Cyprus to use bifacial models but also special technology for photovoltaics, e.g. rotating photovoltaics which give us greater efficiency or what we call adjustable inclination.

How many employees does SOLEK have?

SOLEK GROUP employs more than 250 employees worldwide, with more than 100 employees in Chile, but with the business plan we have set, we expect in Cyprus to reach these numbers, as in the case of Chile. We believe that the staff in Cyprus will increase significantly in the coming years.

What do you think are the causes of high energy prices in Europe and how do you deal with the problem?

High energy prices are a result of the pandemic, because the economy has remained with conventional energy sources. This is why we need RES because RES energy can be stored and used. The EU needs huge energy needs. The Ministry of Energy in Cyprus promotes the strategy for RES and this is very good, in order to increase the consumption of energy from RES. In other countries we are moving to wind energy applications, but here in Cyprus this cannot be done and we are focusing on solar energy and its storage in batteries.

What message would you like to send to the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus?

My message to the government is not to stop with the policies for the use of RES, which will help reduce the price for the benefit of consumers and will contribute to the EU policy for climate neutrality. The use of RES is one way. You are a blessed country with sunshine and you must take advantage of it.

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Source: politis.com.cy

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