Facing climate change, new jobs, a decrease in energy prices – according to the latest nationwide opinion survey, the Poles see more and more advantages of developing renewable energy. Among various technologies, PV gets the biggest acceptance – such a power plant Poles would most likely see in their neighbourhood.

Polish energy sector is facing the need for transformation. A move away from coal energy is inevitable not only because of EU obligations – according to which by the end of 2020 15% of energy consumed in Poland (electricity, heat and transport) should come from renewable sources – but also for economic reasons. The costs of coal mining, CO2 emissions and the consequences of energy production in conventional power plants are rising, while the prices of renewable technologies are falling. Wind energy is currently the cheapest way of generating energy, and solar energy costs have decreased by nearly 80% since 2010. The development of green energy, especially photovoltaics, can also make a significant contribution to the reconstruction of Polish economic potential as soon as possible.

Solar energy is a huge impulse for the economy – investments based on private capital will give the fastest and strongest economic effect, while state or budget funds can be used in other investment areas – and a chance for Polish companies to take a strong position in the European supply chain. We will all benefit from its dynamic development – from investors and companies that are part of the supply chain, through local governments and local communities, to consumers who pay less for electricity – says Ewa Magiera, President of the Polish Photovoltaic Association.

Increasing investment tempo in green energy

At the end of last year, the capacity installed in all renewable sources in Poland was – according to data from the Energy Regulatory Office – over 9 GW. Only as a result of the 2019 auction can be created about 2.2 GW of new capacities in wind technology, about 0.9 GW in PV technology and less than 20 MW of new capacities in other renewable energy technologies (RES). Moreover this year 2,3 GW of new wind and PV projects will start in renewable energy auctions. Such a large increase in new green capacities creates a challenge not only for the transmission network operator, but also for Polish society. The high rate of investment can generate a lot of tension. However, there is a growing awareness – both of investors, regarding the need to build good relations with local communities, as well as local authorities and residents of investment areas – about the benefits of creating green power plants in municipalities.

– From my own observations and many years of experience as the Chairman of the Board of the Association of Renewable Energy Friendly Communes, as well as the Head of the Kobylnica Commune clearly shows that social acceptance for the construction of renewable energy installations in communes is constantly growing – says Leszek Kuliński. – The growth dynamics of investments related to photovoltaics is particularly noticeable, both in the prosumer dimension and large business investments. This results in a significant increase in the interest of local communities in new energy sources and wider acceptance of the development of renewable energy sources – he adds.

This opinion is confirmed by the Marketing Research Center “Indicator”, which conducted a survey on a representative group of 1000 adults from across the country, aimed at assessing various types of energy sources by respondents. The survey was conducted on behalf of Polish Photovoltaics Association.

Solar energy found the best

The respondents support the development of renewable energy and indicate (3 out of 5 of them) that renewable energy should be most supported by the Polish authorities. Green technologies are definitely at the forefront in all aspects of the comparative assessment of different ways of producing energy – ecological, economic and social. Among the renewable sources, the best results were obtained by solar power plants, which are also most often desirable in the neighbourhood. Wind farms are in the second place in the indicated aspects. In the opinion of respondents – gas power plants seem to be a relatively neutral source of energy – average ratings oscillate around 3. The worst results were always obtained by coal and nuclear power plants, although the latter were rated slightly better.

The development of PV micro installations is also popular among the Poles. When asked if Poland should be required to install solar panels on the roofs of newly built buildings, 48% answered that this is a very good idea. Another 15% support this, but believes that housing should be excluded from such an obligation.

Solar energy in Poland is speeding up

This year, the capacity of installed PV in our country has exceeded 1.7 GW, and after building the winning projects from the auction it will be about 2 GW. We will still be far behind other EU countries, where photovoltaic power counts in tens of gigawatts, but the increase in power is gaining momentum, which indicates the rapid development of large-scale solar energy in the coming years, which is associated, among others with the decreasing cost of this technology.

Green energy cheap and safe

And for most respondents (9 out of 10) energy prices are an important topic. Almost 2/3 indicate that renewable sources can contribute to reducing the cost of generating electricity. According to Poles, renewable energy sources are also the cheapest energy sources. People see in renewable energy a chance to combat climate change (4 out of 5 respondents) and reduce dependence on energy imports (70%). A similar percentage (65%) says that renewable energy generates new jobs. Among the most important advantages of renewable energy sources, the respondents also mentioned: reduction of pollutant emissions (79%), use of widely available and natural energy sources (65%) and reduction of consumption of non-renewable sources (58%).

Complete results of the survey are available here

The survey was conducted on behalf of Polish Photovoltaics Association.