25. 10. 2022

Green food storage: one of the largest rooftop photovoltaics in the Czech Republic launched on the roof of Billa’s central warehouse

A power plant from ČEZ ESCO will cover 22% of the consumption of the Modletice warehouse near Prague, which supplies all of the company’s supermarkets in the Czech Republic. The facility, with a total capacity of 1 MWp, will produce 1084 MWh of clean electricity per year, saving 527 tons of CO2, an amount that would be captured by 60 hectares of forest in one year. The customised orientation of the panels on the roof ensures that the power plant’s production is spread relatively evenly throughout the day.

“As part of our sustainability strategy, we have focused extensively on reducing the overall energy intensity of our operations and reducing our carbon footprint. We are committed to achieving carbon neutrality in all our operations by 2040, and to reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. Having our own emission-free energy sources will bring us significantly closer to that goal. This is doubly important today. At the same time, we want to contribute to the energy savings targets in the context of the current energy crisis in the Czech Republic and in Europe. The more electricity we generate ourselves, the more there will be left for other customers,” says Liam Casey, CEO of Billa Czech Republic.

Billa has invested CZK 19 million in the installation. Part of the funds came from the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness. The new photovoltaic plant will cover up to a fifth of the consumption of the warehouse, which is equipped with a 1.5 MW refrigeration facility that requires continuous power supply. ČEZ ESCO was awarded the contract for the construction of the power plant in Modletice on the basis of a tender procedure conducted last year.

“We have built a number of interesting and custom-designed photovoltaics for our customers in the last few years. Despite that, this challenging installation and commencement of supplies to the grid from a plant with a megawatt output is something extraordinary for us. We hope that more such large solar power plants will be built in the Czech Republic, as we are already seeing in our orders. Photovoltaics is a domestic renewable resource that helps reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and strengthens the country’s energy security and self-sufficiency,” says Kamil Čermák, CEO of ČEZ ESCO.

ČEZ ESCO installed a total of 1,847 large-format photovoltaic panels, with a 14-degree slope and east-west orientation, on a roof area of 5,300 sq m. In this configuration, the panels do not shade each other nearly at all, which makes it possible to place them close to one another and to thereby achieve a higher power output.

An important criterion was to keep the roof load as low as possible, including a provision for above-average snow cover. The offer with the lowest overall weight was therefore selected from 14 offers of panels and substructures. Given that the roof could not be disturbed by an anchored structure, the weight of the system itself, in combination with the weight of the concrete segments, has been utilised.

Currently, ČEZ ESCO is preparing more photovoltaics for the Billa supermarket chain, this time for the roofs of its stores. The first will be the stores in Beroun, Říčany, and Slaný.

In the renewable energy sector, photovoltaics has the greatest potential in the Czech Republic. In addition to large ground sources, every solar power plant on the roof of a house, plant, or public building will be important for meeting the ambitious targets. The pace of installations is also driven by customers’ interest in reducing their energy bills.

VISION 2030 - Clean Energy for Tomorrow is ČEZ Group’s accelerated strategy that sets specific targets for three main areas of activity – the environment, the social sphere, and corporate governance – to be achieved by 2030. It encompasses a wide range of activities for which it sets specific targets: from decarbonisation, emissions of pollutants, and the construction of new renewable sources of energy, to community relations, working with human capital, improving the offering for customers, and promoting diversity and equal opportunities. Among other things, ČEZ has committed itself to phasing out coal-based heat generation and substantially reducing coal-based power generation by 2030, and to building new sources with a capacity of 6,000 MW and new emission-free nuclear units. The commitment to achieve total carbon neutrality of its operations was brought forward this year, to 2040.

 ‘It's Time for Plan B’ (www.planbilla.cz) is an activity undertaken by Billa in the Czech Republic, which has defined a comprehensive sustainability plan to help avert adverse environmental developments internationally. The initiative focuses on four main chapters: Green Products, Energy, Climate and Environment, and Employees and Corporate Social Responsibility. The broader list of activities on which the plan is also based includes, for example, reducing the energy intensity of BILLA stores, installing photovoltaic panels, using more modern refrigeration and freezing technologies and self-service checkouts, and replacing paper price tags with electronic ones.

BILLA ČR is part of the REWE International AG group. It has been operating on the Czech market since 1991. With sales of CZK 36.5 billion (2020), more than 250 stores, and more than 6,500 employees, BILLA is the market leader among supermarkets. It offers a wide range of well-known brands, as well as private label products, on an average shop floor of 900 sq m. A strong emphasis is placed on fresh products, such as delicatessen, bakery, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, meat, and chilled products. BILLA focuses on supporting Czech producers, which is why Czech food already accounts for 72% of its total sales. Czech food is also represented among BILLA’s private brands – Vocílka, Česká farma, BILLA BIO, BILLA, BILLA Premium, BILLA Easy, BILLA BON VIA, Today, Clever, Vives, ZOO ROYAL, and Milora.

ČEZ ESCO is a leading Czech expert in energy saving solutions, a supplier of emission-free and green electricity through certificates of origin, and a partner of Czech industry and public administration in achieving decarbonisation and sustainability. ČEZ ESCO provides comprehensive solutions for energy needs – from the installation of decentralised green sources including battery storage, through turnkey corporate electromobility, to energy saving projects and comprehensive supplies of technical building security (TZB). By 2030, ČEZ ESCO intends to build or operate for its customers photovoltaic power plants with a total installed capacity of 300 MW. These installations will be primarily on rooftops, carports, and at its customers’ production sites. The ambition of the entire ČEZ Group is to build 6,000 MW of new renewable resources by 2030.