Poland reached a cumulative installed solar PV capacity of 486.5 MW last year, according to provisional figures released by domestic solar industry association Polska PV.
The newly deployed solar capacity last year – around 214 MW – represented the largest growth recorded in Poland, after new additions in 2017 and 2016 totaled 81 MW and 101 MW, respectively.
According to Polska PV, around 339.5 MW of the nation’s total solar capacity comes from installations no larger than 50 kW. The organization said such “micro-installations” made up 164 MW of new capacity last year.
Bogdan Szymański, president of the management board of Polska PV, said the significant drop in installation costs and an increase in energy prices last year significantly improved the climate for solar investment in Poland. The association said the average cost of deploying 1 kW of PV micro-installations fell by almost PLN500 ($131) last year, compared to 2017. Total investment in solar reached around PLN720 million in 2018, a significant rise from the PLN400 million reported a year earlier.
Installed PV capacity of around 1.2 GW may be reached in Poland by 2021, according to the Rynek fotowoltaiki w Polsce 2018 report, published in July by renewable energy organization the Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej (IEO). With the first two renewable energy auctions staged by the Polish government securing 360 MW of new capacity, hopes are high for the auction regime.
Poland’s third auction for renewable energy projects up to 1 MW in size saw the lowest final price increase from the first two auctions of the same kind, indicating pricing stability is being reached. In November’s first mixed wind-solar auction for large-scale projects, however, all the contracted power went to wind.
More than 80% of Poland’s power demand is met by coal generation. Recent analysis by the IEO found replacing coal with solar may be the only way to head off future electricity price rises.