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Hungary’s installed PV capacity increased tenfold in the past five years

The installed capacity of solar power plants has increased tenfold in Hungary in the last five years. The Hungarian Energy and Utilities Regulatory Authority (HEA) expects that this trend will continue in the future.

In line with the EU targets, Hungary pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and set the goal of making 90 per cent of domestic electricity production carbon-dioxide free by 2030 in the framework of its National Energy Strategy. One of the key pillars of achieving this is solar power. Hungary plans to more than triple the capacity of solar power plants in the next ten year and install solar panels on the rooftops of about 200,000 households by 2035.

“Hungary has taken significant steps in the past years to achieve climate goals,” said Péter János Horváth, President of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

The Hungarian regulator informed that the installed capacity of solar PV in the residential sector increased from 128 megawatts (MW) in 2015 to 640 MW by the end of September 2020. The growth was even stronger for solar power plants above household size (50 kilowatts). The installed capacity of these power plants has increased fifty times in the last five years, this way the total capacity of solar power plants surged from 153 MW in 2015 to 1,848 MW by September 2020, which is a tenfold increase in only five years.

Mr Horváth highlighted that the trend is expected to continue due to investments supported by the latest METÁR tender, which encourages the production of renewable electricity. Therefore, solar capacity can be further expanded, according to the estimations of HEA another 343 gigawatts-hour (GWh) can be added yearly from renewable sources, which can cover the total electricity consumption of 160,000 households a year.

Mr Horváth explained that the rapid expansion of renewables also poses challenges for the regulatory side, as the production of solar power plants must be safely integrated into the grid.

“For supply security reasons, traditional technologies are still indispensable and we must keep in mind to build and maintain a balance between renewable and conventional power plant capacities,” the President of HEA added.

In 2020, nuclear accounted for 47.98 per cent of Hungary’s energy mix, gas represented 27.01 per cent while renewables accounted for 13.21 per cent.

András Biczók, CEO of the Hungarian Transmission System Operator MAVIR also mentioned in his interview with CEENERGYNEWS the importance of handling properly the changes that occur due to a large number of renewables appearing as network connections. He highlighted that it is also of utmost importance to have a common energy industry based outlook on the ways and solutions to involve renewables fully in the power market, including their participation in the balancing mechanism.

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