Polish distribution system operator (DSO) PGE Dystrybucja had a record year of small scale solar PV installations on its grid with nearly 100,000 new connections in. This translates to 612 MW micro installations. This, it claims, is more than twice as many as connected in 2019, and almost 10 times more than in 2018.
With this, at the end of 2020, the strength of small scale PV installations on its grid added up to a total of 947 MW in the form of 157,000 systems connected, counting 57,000 systems grid connected with a combined capacity of 335 MW at the end of 2019. Most of these systems, nearly 45,000 are installed in Podkarpackie province and more than 30,000 in Mazovia province.
And it was the PGE Dystrybucja’s area of operations where most micro-installations operated among other Polish DSOs.
In addition to 612 MW small systems in 2020, the DSO also grid connected 253 new larger renewable energy installations representing more than 196 MW in terms of capacity, comprising 177 MW solar PV, 14 MW wind and 5 MW of biogas.
The DSO believes the high growth of solar PV installations in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic speaks of environmental awareness of the denizens as well as its technical efficiency as a company.
The management now is focusing on the development of its distribution network to enable grid connection of more renewable energy.
“The rapid growth of renewable energy sources is a huge challenge for the distribution system operator, which is our company in the PGE Group,” said PGE Dystrybucja’s President of the Management Board, Jarosław Kwasek. “Distribution grids are the foundation for the development of distributed generation capacities, so we must still think about serious investments in the modernization and development of smart grids, while implementing the established strategy of the PGE Capital Group and the government’s energy policy.”
Earlier this month, the Polish Council of Ministers approved the country’s Energy Policy till 2040 which accords solar PV and offshore wind a major role to play even though the plan sees coal staying put while bringing in nuclear power. It envisions 5 GW to 7 GW of cumulative installed solar PV capacity in the country by 2030, scaling up to 10 GW to 16 GW in 2040, compared to over 3.5 GW at the end of 2020 (see Poland Approves Energy Policy Until 2040). However, when taken into account that Poland installed over 2 GW alone in 2020, these solar expansion plans seem way too low (see Poland Added 2 GW New PV In 2020: IEO).