We are installing panels slower and slower. What should the government do?

Luc Williams

ERO states that there are approximately 1.4 million in Poland prosumer photovoltaic micro-installations. They have a total capacity of 11.3 GW, which is more than twice as much as the largest coal-fired power plant in Poland – Bełchatów Power Plant. This is a lot, but what is noticeable is the decreasing dynamics of connecting new panels. In 2023, 186,000 of them were created; in 2022 it was 353.5 thousand, and in 2021 almost 400 thousand.

Unfavorable change to the system

The decline in market development dynamics is primarily the result of regulations that make installing a panel on your roof less profitable. The system will be in force from 2022 net-billing. Prosumers settle at current prices, but during sunny periods – i.e. production – electricity is cheap, and during consumption hours – expensive. There was a system in place before net-metering, in which the prosumer could treat the system as a “virtual warehouse” where the surplus was “stored”. The change was introduced to reduce the pace of development of prosumer energy, because the distribution network was not able to absorb large amounts of new, green power so quickly.

– We have less than 7 million residential buildings in Poland. In addition, there are, among others: farm and public buildings. Each of them is a potential space for a photovoltaic micro-installation. This means that the development of prosumer energy in Poland is only at an early stage. Each kilowatt on the roof means less need for green space for the development of professional photovoltaics. Government policy should therefore support the development of prosumer energy in order to use its full potential, he believes Tobiasz Adamczewskiprogram director Renewable energy in a think tank Energy Forum.

The government must come up with a better solution?

In his opinion, the use of the potential of prosumer energy will depend on whether investors see financial benefits in it or not. – In the current settlement system, it is unfortunately difficult to estimate the return on investment period. The net-billing system introduced a few years ago is unfavorable. The prosumer will receive its market value at a given hour for the energy fed into the network. Thanks to the dynamic development of photovoltaic energy in Poland, energy prices on sunny days will be lower and lower. For owners of micro-installations, this will mean increasingly lower revenues for the so-called prosumer account. Due to this change, there is already a significant decline in interest in photovoltaic micro-installations. Heat pumps are also less willing to be installed because the new system does not generate enough savings to cover the annual electricity bill. If the government seriously wants to encourage further development of this RES segment, it will have to propose a better solution – e.g. fixed or minimum rates for purchasing energy from prosumers – says Adamczewski.

Energy storage needed

As the expert argues, limiting energy production from micro-installations due to network voltage is wasteful and causes financial losses for prosumers and the entire system. – This happens when local energy production on sunny days exceeds local power demand. An effective way to balance production and power consumption locally is to install a larger energy storage facility in the node where overproduction occurs. This type of systems are already effectively tested in Poland and prove their technological validity – says Tobiasz Adamczewski.

He adds that a wider use of this type of solutions is needed, both in places where problems already exist and where further development of prosumerism is expected. – In this matter, you can use EU funds or funds obtained from sales emission allowances (ECJ). Spending public money to support home electricity storage is questionable. They are much more expensive than larger, local warehouses. A good solution is to support home heat energy storage, e.g. in the form of heat buffers – says a Forum Energii analyst.


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