As the European Union increases its solar energy market, Poland almost quadrupled its capacities reaching 784 megawatts (MW) in one year, thus becoming the fifth largest producer in Europe.
According to the leading development and investment management company in the region, Sun Investment Group (SIG), Poland has to thank its self-consumption model and the government efforts for such unprecedented growth.
Overall, last year was the most fortunate year for the European Union in the solar energy sector. In 2019, the EU added 16.7 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy installations to its portfolio, increasing the number by 104 per cent since 2018. This sharp rise marked the biggest growth in solar energy generation since 2010.
So far, five member countries have contributed the most, including Spain (4.7 GW), Germany (4 GW), the Netherlands (2.5 GW), France (1.1 GW) and Poland (784 MW). The country quadrupled its solar power installations from 203 MW connected to the grid in 2018 to 784 MW in 2019. In 2020, Poland is planning to almost double its installations to 1.3 GW.
“We are excited that Poland is now turning to be one of the fastest-growing solar power producers in the European Union,” commented Deividas Varabauskas, CEO and managing partner at Sun Investment Group. “We believe that the progress was only possible due to source-specific auctions organised by the State, which will soon be boosted even further by big PV [photovoltaics] projects that will replace wind projects in technology-neutral auctions as there are very few new wind projects that comply with new regulations. This is a win-win approach, as current price bids are very close to the market price, giving a predictable revenue for 15 years to the PV generator and very soon an additional revenue for the Polish state treasury.”
Previously, the country has been struggling to meet the Union’s renewable energy plans, being Poland the biggest coal producer in the Union. But in 2019, it had a sharp rise in solar energy generation. Although the biggest renewable source is wind power, Poland is turning its focus on expanding the solar energy sector.
“Due to the rising CO2 certificate prices, the state will soon start generating income from the difference between auction price awarded to the generator and a market price of electricity, that in a few years will become higher than auction price awarded to PV generators,” continued Mr Varabauskas. The impact of CO2 European Emission Allowances price increases will severely affect power prices in Poland, as coal is the most CO2 intensive source of energy, and Poland is mostly dependent on coal for its power and heat generation. Obviously, this is an enormous motivation for Poland to transition from coal to renewables as soon as possible, however, it will still take a very significant time to fully transform its energy infrastructure, which means PV is going to help save money to Poland and its citizens and businesses.”
The European Union is growing its renewable energy market and breaking new records each year. The progress would be impossible without countries like Poland joining the train and expediting the transition. With many new projects on the way, the EU can expect even more prominent growth.