Filip Koprcina Runs Startup Aimed at Lessening Climate Change Consequences

Lauren Simmonds

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As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Filip Koprcina has always been interested in renewable energy sources and environmental protection, and he decided to act strongly on this issue. This 25-year-old Croat runs a successful startup called Energy Shift, a platform that allows people to invest and co-own solar power plants. contribute to the environment and generate revenue. He wanted, as he says, to make a change here in Croatia and the European Union, and then on a global level.

“People have the opportunity to make a profit of 10-15 percent per year while reducing their CO2 emissions. We currently have more than 1000 European citizens who have expressed their interest in investing more than 15 million kuna into solar energy. I used European youth programmes and through Erasmus for young entrepreneurs I worked in Ukraine for three months with a company that installs solar panels. There I learned how the whole process of installing solar panels works, how to install panels and a few so-called ”tips & tricks” of the energy business.  For the past 12 months, I’ve volunteered in Cyprus through the European Solidarity Force (ESF), with the aim of raising awareness of sustainable development goals,” said Filip Koprcina, who is currently the EU Climate Pact Ambassador.

For his platform, Filip received the European Union Sustainable Energy Award for the democratisation of solar energy ownership, in the Youth Energy category.

”Back in May this year, we received an initial investment from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) through their Digital venture programme. We’re currently negotiating with several international investors about the next round of financing. We want to open new markets and expand throughout Europe,” revealed Filip Koprcina.

He says that many citizens can install solar panels on the roof of their house, but they can’t be very competitive in terms of earnings due to the current Croatian laws and those beyond the country’s borders. Despite those obstacles, this young man has a vision and an idea of ​​how to stimulate the Croatian economy and create new green jobs in Croatia through investments in renewable energy.

”The return on investment varies from country to country. It depends on the general price of electricity, the amount of sunshine that the country/location gets, but in general the return is between 15-25 percent. For example, in Croatia we have 220-250 sunny days, while in Cyprus there are typically 320-340 sunny days a year, while the price of electricity is twice as high as it is here in Croatia. At the moment, there’s no discussion about the possibilities and cost-effectiveness of solar energy in the first place. Last year, Croatia imported 40 percent of the electricity we consumed, and only 1 percent of the energy we produce comes from solar power plants. We also import oil and coal and gas, which we need for the production of electricity, and we allocate over 12 billion kuna a year for that alone. Solar energy is also a fantastic investment in the long run because solar panels produce energy and have guarantees of 20-30 years, while many solar panels produce energy even after 40 years,” Filipa Koprcina pointed out.

He also noted that Croatia hasn’t invested significantly in energy projects in the last 30 years, and that HEP’s profit goes to the state budget instead of, for example, to new investments and capacities.

“Croatia is an energy-dependent country. We import about 50 percent of our energy worth up to 12 billion kuna. Of that, we import 100 percent of our coal, 90 percent of our oil, 70 percent of our gas and about 40 percent of our electricity. Croatia has almost no industry, and, according to Worldometers, our share in global greenhouse gas emissions is 0.05 percent, while in the EU we have the 4th lowest carbon footprint of all member states.

During the COP in Glasgow, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced the cessation of coal energy production at the Plomin thermal power plants by 2033 at the latest, which will further reduce our CO2 emissions. Currently, 75 percent of the carbon emissions in the EU come from energy production and use, while the EU as a whole is dependent on energy imports, mostly oil and gas. The EU imports 73 percent of its oil and 15 percent of its gas, and the largest supplier of all is Russia, which can geopolitically influence EU policies.

That’s why Croatia has started the LNG terminal project on Krk, and that’s why the entire EU wants to become an energy-neutral bloc. One proposal I made as a member of the Technical Working Group at the UN High-Level Dialogue, and I’d now like to give it to the Croatian Government, is to abolish the tax on investments in renewable energy (VAT + customs duties on equipment imports). This would immediately reduce the investment costs of companies and individuals by 25-30 percent, and would increase the return on investment, thereby simply increasing investment in the energy sector,” explained Filip Koprcina.

This energy-conscious entrepreneur wants Energy Shift to become the leading platform through which individuals invest in the world’s long-term renewable energy, to contribute to the energy transition. In addition, he has a great desire for his company to become a new Croatian ”unicorn”.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.


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