Prague – The National Theatre will have its second solar power station. After dark panels covered the roof of its operational building last year, technicians are now installing photovoltaic modules on top of the Nová scéna building.
“The power station could start operating already in the middle of November,” Miroslav Růžička, deputy technical director at the theatre, told Aktuálně.cz.
The National Theatre is therefore conforming its dominant position in electricity production from solar radiation in Prague – it has the biggest solar power station in the capital city.
“The objective is to reduce energy costs in all National Theatre buildings in the long run,” said Růžička. The solar power stations come as part of an extensive environmental project that the theatre management launched a few years ago.
Dozens of millions of crowns invested in making the theatre and auxiliary facilities “green” bear fruit already. According to the plan, the theatre was to save more than CZK 4 million just last year, but the actual saving was CZK 2 million higher.
Besides the photovoltaic power station, another contributor to the cost cuts was modern equipment hidden on the bottom floors of the historical building. The theatre uses for example waste heat, which brings savings in the order of thousands of crowns every day. The project counts on total savings of nearly CZK 50 million in ten years.
Killing two birds with one stone
The solar power station on the roof of Nová scéna is bigger and more efficient than the “old” photovoltaic panels on the operational building. What they have in common is that both roofs needed new hydro insulation, so besides installing solar panels, workers will also seal the roof.
“We killed two birds with one stone,” said Růžička. “The option involving photovoltaic modules is more expensive, but a mere insulation foil does not make any money.”
The theatre uses the savings achieved to repay the investment, and will even make money on it after some time. Moreover, the method chosen makes it possible to improve energy efficiency, and therefore to reduce emissions.
Minus thousand tonnes of emissions
Last year, the more economical operation of the theatre reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than a thousand tonnes. To give a comparison: every Czech releases about 12 tonnes of CO2 a year.
The second photovoltaic power station at the National Theatre will save a further 25 tonnes, and generate electricity that would suffice for 7-8 households that do not use electricity for heating.
The guaranteed lifespan of the power station, which cost roughly CZK 8 million including the hydro insulation, is thirty years.
“The return on investment is fifteen years,” said Růžička. The theatre management plan to build another solar power station on the roof of its warehouse and other environmental projects, he added.