Solarity from the CEO’s perspective

Solarity from the CEO’s perspective

What made you decide to start this company? How did you get into the field?

It was 2007 when I first heard about brand new photovoltaic energy. It was super fascinating to produce electricity without almost no operational expenses. I had no idea about PV, so I started learning about technology, industry, and all necessary steps to connect PV into the grid.

Local Czech market started to boom from zero to GW in 2 years driven by a very generous FIT more than 0,40 EUR/kWh. The first idea was to invest and catch the right time. But I was about 18 years old, studying at 2 Universities and just starting a new eshop with trendy electronics. I didn’t have thousands of EUR to invest, so I also had financing challenges. After some period of time, I learned more about the PV business and with the support from my family I started the business. We actually failed in the original investment plan due to too expensive grid connection, but thanks to the research I understood business opportunities.

So I hired my first employee and we started B2C EPC in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and also a small wholesale business in CEE. We installed several smaller PV power plants. The biggest was 40 kWs and we also succeeded in our own investment of 40 kWp in Slovakia which we are still running. PV market size was 1GW p.a. In CZ for two consecutive years 2010, 2011 and then suddenly dropped to zero. Based on this fact I founded a new company Solarity with focus mainly on international distribution.

What motivates you in your job?

I enjoy my job every day. Each year is different, we are constantly growing, sometimes and somewhere even too much. It is a great experience with great colleagues in already more than 20 international markets and 3 continents.

Do you remember a specific experience where you wished that Solarity had done something differently?

Many times, but you can’t take it back, only learn from it. I am proud and grateful for what we achieved.

If you were to do it over, what would you change?

Maybe implement ERP systems earlier and focus more on regional expansion.

How has the industry changed in the past 5 years?

Now in almost all European markets, PV is the fastest growing new source of energy. The new trend towards clean energy sources is more and more obvious also for the general public, people support it and politicians listen. This is probably the biggest change in the last few years. Alternative sources were blocked for many years because of the huge lobby of old electricity manufacturers and concerns. Today nobody believes in coal anymore. PV is the cheapest source worldwide. The PV industry is evolving into standard one, market players are professionalising, competition is increasing.

What is the most interesting trend for 2021?

We can all see there is something wrong with the whole natural environment and the weather. The number of natural disasters like huge fires, floods, droughts, has multiplied extremely. We experienced a severe hurricane leaving hundreds of destroyed houses in Central Europe! This worries me very much. I am even more convinced we are doing the right job as Solarity in order to minimize GHG and other emissions and to ultimately help to save the planet.

Regarding the PV market, we see more and more markets finally started implementing renewable friendly legislation and therefore started opening for PV installations. On the other hand, EU countries announced even faster closing of all coal mines.

What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?

Electricity consumption should increase significantly due to the massive increase of electric vehicles (EV). Distribution networks will require significant upgrades on local levels to handle EV charging. This will bring a further increase in the market price of electricity which will further increase the rentability of PV systems maximizing self-consumption.

PV will dominate as a new energy source in the majority of countries worldwide simply because it is already the cheapest one. At certain points, DSOs and transmission systems will start requiring installing energy storage systems along with each bigger PV power plant.

All new buildings will have some PV on the roof or building integrated (BIPV) combined with storage, heat pumps and smart energy management maximizing self-consumption and enabling EV charging by clean energy.

What do you do during a typical business day?

Mostly meeting with my colleagues, combination of regular, project and ad hoc meetings.

What are you most proud of regarding the company?

Our great people and development we achieved in different regions. The last 3 years were really intense, demanding and rewarding at the same time.

How about resting? What do you do when you are outside the office?

I spend time with my family and friends, do sports, and travel a lot.

What goal do you have for the next decade?

To become a global PV solution provider and cover all needs of our current and also new customers. We plan not only to distribute PV material globally but also deliver complete energy solutions and also invest in power plants in order to ultimately provide electricity power to final consumers. We should reach global coverage in distribution by 2023, the later activities will definitely require longer development to fulfill this challenging vision.

What would you wish for the company for the 10th anniversary?

To settle down after a demanding year influenced by COVID and ERP implementation and start preparing for further growth in a well organized and planned way than so far.