Polish utility PGE takes another step into solar


PGE Energia Odnawialna, the renewable energy branch of Poland’s state-owned utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE SA), has announced that it will build a PV laboratory and a PV panel test field in Siedlce, in the eastern part of the country.

The company said that the new facilities will be used for obtaining reliable data from various types of solar panels, their operating time, production, and changes in parameters under the influence of changing weather conditions.

The test field will be divided into eight sections, each of which will test a different kind of technology relying on polycrystalline, monocrystalline and thin-film panels. Storage systems, micro-inverters and optimizers will also be analyzed, the company says.

The move is part of the utility’s recent plan to expand into solar, which will be implemented mainly through the acquisition of PV plants not exceeding 1 MW in size in Poland. Only solar parks of this kind are currently entitled to have access to the country’s auction scheme for solar. This year, however, the Polish government may hold its first auction for larger PV plants.

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PGE currently operates two large lignite mines and around 40 power plants mainly using hard coal and lignite. It is also planning to build offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 1 GW, as well as in new gas-fired generation capacities, over the next decade. The company’s total electricity output reached 57 TWh last year, up by 6% from 2016

As for PGE Energia Odnawialna, it currently owns 33 hydroelectric power plants, 14 wind farms and one PV power plant with combined capacity of 2.1 GW. The solar plant, however, has an installed power of only 600 kW.

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