Polish lenders appear to be coming round to the idea of renewable energy investment.
Polish engineering, procurement and construction services and energy company R.Power Group has received what it claims is the most extensive portfolio financing agreement for PV in Poland, from local lender mBank.
R.Power has banked PLN90 million ($22.9 million) for 34 solar plants with a cumulative generation capacity of 33 MW. According to a company statement, most of the portfolio will be in Wielkopolska voivodeship, near Poznań.
The projects were allocated under an auction held in November and secured 15-year contracts-for-difference incentives. Solar competes with wind in Poland’s renewables auctions for projects with a generation capacity of up to 1 MW. In procurement rounds for larger facilities, the economics of wind power push out PV.
Commenting on the auction results from November, Piotr Pająk – from renewable energy news site Gramwzielone.pl – said 554 solar projects were selected, securing 8,169 TWh of power to be sold for PLN2.2 billion. Approximately half of the auction’s budget, however, remains unassigned. According to Pająk, if all the budget were allocated, 16,065 TWh could have been sold for PLN6.2 billion.
Change in attitude
The minimum final price from the November procurement round – not including tax on goods and services – was PLN288.99/MWh ($79.19). The maximum price was PLN364.99.
R.Power said multicrystalline panels and string inverters will be used for all 34 projects in its 33 MW portfolio. Construction has started and the projects are set to be commissioned between October and March.
“Our contract with mBank is a sign that the Polish market is maturing and proves that financial institutions are ready to support the development of photovoltaics implemented by Polish investors, especially when it comes to larger portfolios of photovoltaic power plants,” said Tomasz Sęk, vice-president of R.Power Group. “The implementation of such investments increases Poland’s energy security by expanding production during the period of increased summer electricity consumption. The loan granted by mBank is in line with the global trend of banks withdrawing from financing high-emission power and focusing on financing renewable energy sources.”
‘Renewables are attractive’
MBank managing director Michał Popiołek said the lender recently raised the credit limit available to renewable energy companies, from PLN500 million to PLN1 billion, in light of favorable changes to support schemes, more efficient technology and deeper investor experience. Renewable energy investment has become attractive in Poland, the MD said.
R.Power Group claims to be a solar pioneer in Poland. Having started in 2012, the company holds an 800 MW portfolio in the country and is active in project development; construction; operations and maintenance; and asset management.
Poland reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of 486.5 MW last year, according to provisional figures released by domestic solar industry association Polska PV.
The country generates around 80% of its electricity from coal. A recent study by Polish research institute the IEO found replacing coal with solar could be the only way to head off future electricity price rises.
Poland’s dependency on coal has brought it into conflict with the European Commission over the bloc’s desire for a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions strategy.