BayWa r.e. signs Poland’s ‘first’ solar corporate PPA

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Image: BayWa r.e.

Renewables group BayWa r.e. has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with construction company HiedelbergCement for what it claims is Poland’s first subsidy-free solar park.

BayWa r.e. is in the final stages of building what it claims is Poland's largest solar farm to date in Witnica, close to the German border between Poznań and Berlin. The project, which was built with 405-400Wp Mono PERC half-cell modules from JinkoSolar, Huawei string inverters and Siemens MV transformers, is due to come online in the first half of 2021.

A local subsidiary of German company HiedelbergCement’s agreed to offtake electricity from the 65MWp park through a 10-year PPA. BayWa r.e. claims it is not only Poland’s largest solar farm, but also its first built without government subsidies.

Dr. Benedikt Ortmann, BayWa r.e.’s global director of solar projects, hailed the deal as “ultimate proof” that solar PV power generation can be “competitive to conventional energies…even in a European country further north, which still generates 80% of its electricity from coal.”

Andrea Gritzke, the developer’s global director of energy solutions, said the “unique” financial model for this plant “serves as an economic structure for a fixed price hedge against rising electricity costs.”

The deal also assists the construction group in its own carbon neutrality targets. “We are gradually fulfilling the company’s sustainable development goals,” Andrzej Reclik, president of Górażdże Cement, said.

There has been a surge of corporate PPA contracts in the past two years as subsidies are phased out of the global renewables sector, and while the market has been dominated by the US, European developers are catching up. A recent report from software firm Pexapark claims that Europe could exceed 10GW of renewables PPA volumes this year, largely driven by deals in Spain.

BayWa r.e. started work on the Witnica park in July, seven years after a development plan was first put forward. The developer has set sights on installing a total 1GW of solar and wind capacity in the country over the next five years, including 600MW of for solar farms.

BayWa r.e. is one of a handful of developers that have gained traction in Poland in recent months. Poland’s Institute of Renewable Energy (IEO) expects that up to 8GW of solar could be installed in the country in the next five years. Groups such as ReneSolaR.PowerSIG and Univergy have all made strides with capacity targets and forming Polish subsidiaries to tap into the nascent market. Last month, solar developers were awarded all available capacity in a Polish auction for small-scale clean energy projects, while just last week supplier LONGi secured a deal to provide 300MW of high-efficiency solar modules to Polish distribution company Keno this year.

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