Residential and commercial PV drive solar growth in Poland, cumulative capacity nears 200 MW

Around 101 MW of new PV systems was connected to the grid in Poland last year. Of this capacity, about 73 MW came from residential and commercial solar power generators.

Poland has installed around 101 MW of new PV installations in 2016, according to the report on the Polish PV market “Rynek fotowoltaiki w Polsce 2017” published by Polish state-owned renewable energy institute Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej (IEO).

This is more than expected by the local solar association Polish Society for Photovoltaics (PV POLAND), which in mid-March told pv magazine it expected approximately 90 MW for last year.

At the end of 2016, the country’s cumulative installed capacity had reached 199 MW. Of this capacity, around 99 MW is represented by installations built under the green certificate scheme and registered by local energy regulator URE, while the remaining 100 MW consists of PV systems installed under net metering.

Of the newly installed PV registered last year, around 73 MW comes in the form of PV installations of 40 kW or smaller.

Solar represented just 0.5% of the country’s generation capacity at the end of 2016, and 2.3% of total renewable energy installed capacity, 8.5 GW, and consists mainly of wind and biomass plants.

Furthermore, the report reveals that total investments for solar in Poland amounted to PLN 550 million ($145.8 million) last year. The domestic solar sector, however, saw the number of its employees decrease from 1,500 in 2015 to 900 in 2016.

Moreover, the authors of the report highlight that all the Polish PV module producers included in their market survey have shipped 41.9 MW of panels last year, although their combined production capacity is 143 MW.

The Polish government is currently supporting solar through net metering (up to 40 kW) and an auction mechanism for large-scale projects (over 40 kW). The two schemes, which replaced the green certificate mechanism, were introduced with a new renewable energy law in July 2016.

Under the net metering scheme, operators of PV systems up to 10 kW are refunded 80% for each kilowatt they inject into the electricity system, while owners of PV installations ranging in size between 10 kW and 40 KW are refunded 70%.

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