Poland tops 1 GW of solar

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Poland reached total solar generation capacity of 1,007.2 MW at the end of September, according to figures provided by the Polish government and based on data from grid operator Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne S.A.

At the end of last year, Poland’s operational PV capacity stood at around 486 MW, with 214 MW deployed that year. That means most of the current operational capacity – around 520 MW – was installed in the first nine months of this year. The surge seen in PV project capacity in the last two years is evident when compared with new addition figures of 81 MW and 101 MW in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The government said it expects a further 2 MW per day – for around 60 MW per month – to be installed for the remainder of the year, to bring Poland’s cumulative capacity to an expected 1.2 GW this year. Of that total, the government added, around 800 MW will have come from solar systems no larger than 50 kW and which operate under net metering.

Prosumer push

The government said the growth in solar is being driven by prosumers – PV owners which consume and export solar energy – who can benefit from several support programs. Incentive schemes include the Energia Plus program for renewables projects with a generation capacity of up to 500 kW, the Mój Prąd (My Electricity) scheme for residential installations which was launched in July, the Czyste Powietrze (Clean Energy) scheme, and the Agroenergia program.

In late September, the Polish parliament adopted new environmental provisions including a VAT reduction for micro PV systems. That followed the introduction in July of a renewable energy act extending net metering access to businesses and energy communities. The incentive had previously been available only to residential, public sector and housing community users.

With Poland continuing to support ageing coal power generation facilities, electricity prices are expected to rise, making net metering more attractive.