Polish mining company to deploy solar on dead coal sites

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Polish power company and coal miner Tauron Polska Energia S.A. has launched a tender for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) service contractors for a 3.1-5 MW solar park planned for Jaworzno, near Katowice in southern Poland, where the company is based.

Tauron said the project is part of a new program to deploy ground-mounted PV plants on its unused sites.

Interested EPCs have until September 13 to bid. No details of the terms of the contract or the identity of the energy offtaker were revealed in Tauron’s announcement of the tender.

“The program is currently being prepared, including obtaining the necessary administrative licenses,” the company said. The miner plans to install projects at five decommissioned power plants and landfills.

Miners turn to solar

Tauron said solar parks will be built in Mysłowice, also near Katowice, and at Stalowa Wola, in southeastern Poland. The power company is planning to install around 300 MW of solar and 900 MW of wind power generation capacity by 2025.

The company is Poland’s second largest electricity supplier, with 5.1 GW of installed generation capacity. Larger rival PGE also recently made its first steps into PV and has announced its first corporate power supply deal, for a 5 MW solar plant.

Another Polish coal company and electricity provider, Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin SA said in November it will deploy a large scale PV plant at a depleted area of the extensive Adamów brown coal mine in Turek, in the center of Poland. That plant may be intended to replace generation capacity lost in January with the closure of the Adamow power station, a five-unit, coal-fired plant with a 600 MW capacity at the mine.

Despite the solar projects, all three companies generate most of their electricity from coal, which supplies around 80% of Poland’s power. Recent analysis by Polish research institute the IEO found replacing coal with solar could be the only way to head off future electricity price rises.