The restrictive climate policy of the European Union forces us to abandon coal and focus on renewable energy sources. This makes the photovoltaic energy market booming. According to the data of the Institute for Renewable Energy, at the end of 2020, the installed capacity in our country amounted to almost 4 GW, which was an increase compared to 2019 by 200 percent. 2021 was even better. The recorded increase in installed capacity exceeded the level of 6 GW. As much as 70 percent of the solar electricity was generated primarily by the so-called prosumers, i.e. small, private installations, e.g. on the roofs of single-family houses.
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The prosperity on the photovoltaic market was the result of very attractive billing conditions for energy. Unfortunately, this idyll ends in April. An amendment to the act on renewable energy sources enters into force in April. Photovoltaic installations will start operating on the free market of energy producers. They will use the produced one right away, the surplus will be resold, and the missing one will be bought. The problem is that for the surplus produced on a sunny day, they will get less than they will have to pay for electricity at night and in the evening, when the panels will no longer produce energy.
Will photovoltaics still pay off? – It all depends on the fourth edition of the My Current program – he said in an interview with “Sądeczanin” Paweł Gumulak, the president of the Solsum company from Świniarsk dealing with the assembly of panels. – If the subsidies are high, it will pay off to buy additional energy storage, even if the settlement with the operator turns out to be less favorable. If the subsidies are low, not everyone will be able to afford the purchase of batteries and the interest in home photovoltaics will be lower than it is now.
The first edition of the “My Electricity” program was launched in August 2019. The amount of co-financing was up to 5,000. zloty. Last year, in the third edition, the subsidy was reduced to 3,000. PLN due to a noticeable decrease in the prices of photovoltaic installations. The money went down the trunk. The program’s budget ran out in just three months.
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How will it be this year? It is already known that one billion zlotys have been reserved in the budget for the fourth edition of the program, which is to be launched in the first quarter of this year, informed the Ministry of Environment. The amount of the subsidy will depend on the scale of the investment. – If these are only PV panels, the subsidy will amount to – as at present – up to PLN 3,000. zloty. However, if prosumers also decide to use energy management systems, energy storage, chargers for electric cars, the support will be higher – says the head of the ministry Anna Moscow quoted by the biznesinfo.pl website.
The head of the climate ministry, who explains that the introduction of new solutions resulted from the necessity to change the market. – The “My Current” program turned out to be a huge stimulus for the development of the prosumer system in Poland. According to the original assumptions, 1 million prosumers would operate in Poland in 2030. There are already over 740,000 of them, and the millionth installation will be launched next year. – The dynamics of the growth of prosumers, however, means that the network is currently not ready to receive such amount of energy produced by domestic installations and it already happens that micro-installations are automatically turned off – explains Moscow.
The billing system was problematic, as it caused the grid to become a free energy storage, from which energy could be obtained at any time, practically without incurring any costs – indicated the minister
How will it be with investing in solar panels all over again? At the request of the Polish Smog Alert, experts have prepared an analysis which shows that the profitability of photovoltaic installations in our homes will drop drastically.
According to the calculations of the former president of the National Fund for Environmental Protection Jan Rączka, the investment in photovoltaics will pay off only after 16 years, assuming that the supplier is Enea. With other energy suppliers it will not be better – payback times range from 12.5 to 14.5 years. For comparison: in the current support system, the installation will pay for itself after 6.5 to 9.5 years.
Reduced profitability is not the only shortcoming of the new rules. – This is a very bad time to change the electricity billing system. Investing in your own photovoltaic installation can be an effective antidote to very high prices of electricity and other energy sources. They have been growing rapidly since the beginning of 2021. Wholesale electricity prices in annual forward contracts increased by 70%. between September 2020 and September 2021. Now they went up again.
According to the amendment to the act on renewable energy sources, those who will become prosumers by March 31, 2022, in the discount system, will be settled under the old rules in the discount system for another 15 years. After this date, prosumers will enter the new system.
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The inhabitants of Sądecczyzna, who were just trying to invest in free electricity, are now trying to do so by casting a tape, and have stormed local solar panel assembly companies. The intensified law of supply and demand turns into more than just queues. The prices of the service are also going up. As the president of Solsum explained, this is because the market lacks raw materials for the production of modules. In addition, there are global problems with logistics and the lack of specialists, which means that the prices of components and the service itself are also rising.
– Compared to last year, the price of a photovoltaic installation has risen on average by five or ten percent. Now you have to pay an average of around 25,000. zlotys. Compared to 2020, almost 2 thousand more. zlotys. Although the price is higher, the efficiency of the modules and the warranty are also higher this year, which means that the increase in the price of the installation is not so noticeable.
Maciej Wiejaczka, the trade manager of the Sezam company from Nowy Sącz said, in turn, that not only the panels had become more expensive. The prices of constructions went up by nearly thirty or forty percent, and the prices of cables went up by one hundred percent, because the prices of copper went up.
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In the opinion of experts from the Institute for Renewable Energy, the boom for small installations is about to end and increases in installed capacity from this source will consistently slow down. This, in turn, will open the market for large industrial farms and will support industrial prosumers, i.e. companies that decide to invest in their own photovoltaic energy sources. According to experts, at the turn of 2023-2024, the prosumer power will be equal to the power of farms. ([email protected]) photo: unsplash