Early April will mark a year since Poland's solar sector underwent a profound change, when new provisions were introduced for PV “micro-installations” up to 50 kW in size. The new net billing system replaced the net metering scheme, which was the country’s key PV deployment engine since its introduction in 2016.
According to IEO, the first effects on prosumers were evident in last year’s installation figures, but the impact of the change on investors and installers is still unclear. About 1.3 GW of micro-installation PV capacity was connected in the first quarter of 2022. Around 152,000 systems were installed with an average power of 8.3 kW. This equaled approximately 1,700 installations per day. Following the switch to net billing, this number dropped to 375 MW in the third quarter.
“The net billing system has slowed down the development of prosumer installations, but not because it is a bad solution,” said IEO. “It was about accepting and learning new rules by installers and prosumers, as well as understanding it by banks and financing institutions.”
It also points to the positive effects of the net billing regime, including better dimensioning of PV installations and investments in additional equipment to enable the use of surplus solar energy, such as heat pumps and battery energy storage systems.
According to IEO, the new net-billing system leads to a higher self-consumption rate. It said that under the net billing system, with the support of the Mój prąd (My Electricity) rebate program, prosumers with investments in small PV installations of 4 kW to 5 kW will obtain a better internal rate of return (IRR) of 19% to 25%. The net-metering regime offered an IRR of just 13% to 14%.
Under the old net-metering rules, owners of PV systems with capacities below 10 kW could inject up to 80% of their power into the grid, while PV systems ranging in size from 10 kW to 50 kW were allowed to feed up to 70% of their electricity into the grid. Under the new net-billing rules, prosumers have to prepare a bill that includes the energy they generated. The price is then calculated according to a special model related to the price of a kilowatt-hour during so-called “day-ahead trading.”
Prosumers account for almost 80% of the installed PV capacity in Poland. At the end of last year, the number of prosumers exceeded 1.2 million, and the total capacity of their installations amounted to more than 9.3 GW. This means that the average power of a micro-installation is 7.6 kW.
The IEO power forecast assumes that the cumulative PV capacity in the country will stand at 20 GW in 2025. By 2030, this figure should reach 29 GW, including 15 GW of power in prosumer sources, including 4 GW of PV systems owned by businesses.
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