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Photovoltaic installations in Poland are still very popular, as proven by the next edition of the My Electricity programme, through which individual customers can apply for subsidies. As analysed by the WysokieNapiecie.pl portal, the average price of a domestic photovoltaic system including installation has dropped by 3% since 2019. However, the average power of such installations has increased from the popular 5.6 kW in 2019 to 5.8 kW, which in turn increased the total investment amounts.
When the first edition of the My Electricity (Mój Prąd) programme was launched in Poland in 2019, the average price of domestic photovoltaic panel installations in Poland was PLN 25,635 gross and the average power was 5.6 kW. Since then, there have been many changes on the market, and the prices of individual components and stages of the installation have gone up or down. While the prices of solar panels and cables were falling, the installation prices were rising due to the need for additional qualifications for the installers. The opposite happened with the emergence of new companies offering photovoltaic installations. Although the competition on the market lowered the installation prices, at the same time the prices of devices increased. In addition, freight costs also went up, and transport from China to Poland, which delivers modules with a total capacity of about 300 kW, increased from USD 2,000 to USD 16,000, thus raising the price of individual devices by about 4 euro cents per watt.
Continuous cost changes at individual stages have affected the final prices of domestic installations, which have seen a decrease of 3% since 2019. Based on 120,000 applications submitted in the third edition of the My Electricity programme, it was calculated that the average price of a domestic photovoltaic installation including installation is PLN 4,451/kW including VAT. However, the increased power of installed installations – from 5.6 kW to 5.8 kW – increased the total amount. The average photovoltaic installation in Poland in 2021, therefore, costs PLN 25,797 gross. It is worth noting, however, that the high market competition makes it possible to find differing offers with prices ranging from 4,300 PLN/kW to over 6,000 PLN/kW.
Although the average domestic photovoltaic installation generates more than 5 MWh of electricity per year, the Central Statistical Office data shows that only 6% of households in Poland consume this amount or more. Most household installations have to deal with energy surpluses, which most often find their way into the public electromagnetic network. The surpluses make it possible to reduce energy bills, and the installation of a photovoltaic system with a capacity exceeding the household’s demand by approximately 20-25% makes it possible to reduce the bills almost to zero. According to the Central Statistical Office, in Poland, about 11% of households use 4 MWh per year, and 20% use at least 3 MWh, which makes investing in solar energy profitable for many individual prosumers. Furthermore, according to the Energy Market Agency, in July 2021, 602,000 households were already using solar PV installations.
Possible changes in the domestic photovoltaic market
As of 2019, it is estimated that more than half of the photovoltaic installations in households where such an investment was profitable have been established. Subsidies reduced to PLN 3,000 may discourage less wealthy families, which will be associated with significantly lower demand in the home PV market. Additional problems for potential prosumers may be caused by the announced changes in regulations, which will impose the obligation to store energy generated by home installations, and this will generate additional costs, ranging from PLN 6,000 to PLN 20,000. This will also mean changes in the photovoltaic industry, as smaller companies may not survive the shrinking margins for installers. However, large and medium-sized installation companies will be able to expand into new technologies, such as heat pumps or smart home systems.
It is assumed that the cost of domestic PV installations at the end of 2021 and in 2022 will remain at a similar level as in 2019-2020. Even if the price of the installation itself decreases significantly, the prices of modules and mounting systems, and cables are expected to increase soon. In the past two weeks, module prices have jumped by 0.5-1 ct/W, and raw materials such as aluminium and copper are also becoming more expensive. As freight prices are expected to remain at a similar level, reductions can only be expected in 2022, when the opening of new silicon factories in China could increase global production capacity by a third and thus reduce module prices.