2022 AND PHOTOVOLTAIC POWER PLANTS: EPOCHAL CHANGE IN SIGHT?
As the amendment to the RES Act comes into force, 2022 will be a year of change for the entire Polish photovoltaic sector.
Presented at the beginning of June 2021, the draft law has already created a storm in the entire photovoltaic industry, both in terms of the elimination of Prosumers and the entry of new players into the market.
The most revolutionary change concerns the proposal to change the method of accounting for energy produced in micro-installations, i.e. installations with a capacity of up to 50 kW.
The current discount system, works in such a way that the producer sends the surplus energy to the virtual storage (national grid), allows you to collect it during the next 12 months with a deduction from the introduced energy of 20% to 30% depending on the KW of the installation.
With a system of discounts, pro-consumption PV systems are specifically designed to generate a certain amount of surplus energy that, when produced in large quantities during periods such as summer, can be completely taken back when production is lower (i.e. winter). In this way, prosumers have so far been able to achieve bill savings of up to 90%, often paying only minimal fixed taxes.
In some cases, however, the surplus energy from grid-connected PV is so large that they are unable to use it within 12 months, ending up wasting it. This problem is even more pronounced for larger installations.
WHAT WILL CHANGE FOR PROSUMERS?
For existing prosumers, or for those who become prosumers by the end of the year, access to the sink system will be guaranteed for 15 years from the date of first entry into the grid system, with the option to voluntarily switch to an alternative compensation scheme.
Starting in 2022, for new prosumers or after 15 years for existing active prosumers, it will be mandatory to switch to the new compensation system, which will entail an estimated additional cost of 500 PLN with an average consumption of 4500kWh/year.
The current trend is to reach about 2 million prosumers in the Polish market by 2023; such a large number will negatively affect the flexibility of the country’s energy infrastructure, as it is overloaded and unsuited to accommodate such a large amount of discounted energy.
The discount system is therefore doomed to disappear so that energy sellers (which are usually companies affiliated with energy operators) do not suffer losses. However, prosumers will bear the cost, as the expected savings will fall by more than 50%.
Can photovoltaics operate profitably under the proposed system? Yes.
You need to change your business strategy and set your mind to:
– More self-consumption and energy storage.
– Off-grid and hybrid systems (PV+other renewable energy source)
However, off-grid and hybrid installations are not yet mature enough at this point for everyone to switch to them. The most attractive direction of change remains the shift to installations with energy storage and increased self-consumption. The energy storage market is changing rapidly, with each year we raise the bar and increase the capabilities of these devices. But at the moment, energy storage, which is able to store energy from excess production, is a very expensive investment with a very long payback period. Most of the installations that have been built in recent years have been designed to make the most of the prosumer system, very little of the energy is used for the prosumer’s own needs, most of it is given back to the grid, treating it as artificial storage.
In light of the changes taking place, it is necessary to change and focus on better matching energy consumption and production. At the forefront of this task will be intelligent systems that, by controlling all devices connected to the grid, will be able to stimulate self-consumption.
One thing is certain: new regulations in 2021 will significantly change the photovoltaic industry. As can be inferred from its actions, the government wants to cool down the micro-installation sector (which accounts for about 80% of all PV installations in Poland) and stimulate large-scale projects: photovoltaic farms. What will be the effect? We will find out in the near future