Although it may not be obvious to everyone, Poland is indeed a country which is becoming an extremely attractive market for those who wish to invest in renewable energy sources.
It is mainly due to the latest Renewable Energy Sources Act which has introduced two crucial changes: it allows for the sale of electricity back to the grid and provides support to those who use renewable energy sources.
Provisions concerning the sale of electricity and introduction of the, so called, auction system came into force on 1 May 2015, while those concerning support mechanisms will come into force no sooner than on January 2016.
Under new legal provisions, since 2016 information concerning auctions for the sale of electricity to the grid will be published at least once a year. Currently, the software for these auctions is still under construction.
Of course, most attention is drawn to the support mechanisms designed for those who plan to produce green energy on a small scale.
The Act discriminates between micro and mini installations. The power of the former does not exceed 40 kW, whereas the power of a mini installation is in the range between 40 kW and 200 kW.
The real revolution, and the most important issue as well, will be the right to sell electricity to the grid at guaranteed prices.
Guaranteed prices for the owners of micro installations (up to 3 kW) will be 0.19 euro per 1 kW, and for installations of 3 to 10 kW prices will differ depending on the energy source and will be respectively 0.11 to 0.18 euro.
For solar energy the projected guaranteed price is 0.16 euro per 1 kW / h.
Although some issues concerning the new legal provisions are still imprecise (it is doubtful, among other things, whether one will be able to use the funding in the form of a grant or low-interest loan and still retain the right to sell energy at guaranteed prices), the Act is crucial for the development of green energy in Poland and attracts considerable public attention.
As it was revealed in a survey conducted by a research agency TNS Polska for RWE company related to energy industry, more than 21% of Poles are interested in micro installations. Given the population of Poland (over 38 million), it constitutes quite a substantial market of potential clients.
According to the predictions of industry experts, along with the introduction of the new Renewable Energy Sources Act, the number of micro installations will probably raise up to 200,000 units, with the annual growth of about 50,000. These data let no one remain indifferent, especially that in 2014 there were only 535 new micro installations connected to the grid countrywide.
Large energy companies, widely recognized as related to the generation of electricity from burning coal, are now widening the range of their services by offering to design and install photovoltaic panels. Despite the fact that Poland is stereotypically seen as a country with difficult weather conditions for such investments, it is indeed the solar energy which constitutes the main alternative energy source.
Certainly, in terms of sunlight, Poland stays far behind the countries of southern Europe. However, the average insolation in Poland is about 1000 kW per square meter and does not differ in this respect from weather conditions in, e.g., Germany where, according to the German Fraunhofer Institute, only on 12 August electricity generated from sun energy was 20 GW.
What makes Poland stand out amongst the countries of western Europe is the high-growth potential of the industry. 90% of electricity in Poland comes from burning coal, therefore, we have to remember that Poland will be obliged to meet the requirements complying with international agreements related to the reduction of carbon dioxide emission which shall, undoubtedly, cause a substantial increase in the production of green energy.
Investments in renewable energy sources are no longer burdened with high risk which, by all means, shall add to the attractiveness of this industry among investors throughout the next few years.