Equinor enters Polish solar market with 1.6GW pipeline purchase

Image: Equinor

Norwegian energy major Equinor has secured a 1.6GW solar project pipeline in Poland by acquiring local renewables developer Wento.

Equinor has bought Wento, which specialises in developing ready-to-build renewable energy projects, from private equity firm Enterprise Investors in a deal worth €91 million (US$109.57 million) to gain a “strong platform for growth” in Poland’s burgeoning solar energy market.

Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for new energy solutions at Equinor, said that the transaction will “strengthen and diversify” the company’s Polish portfolio, which so far comprises a 50% ownership of three offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 1.44GW.

Olav Kolbeinstveit, Equinor’s vice president of power and markets, said that Wento has proven it can “deliver value” from its renewables projects. The company has developed and monetised solar projects in the company with a total power capacity of 177MW, and 85MW of wind capacity.

The oil and gas major has been involved in the solar market since 2018, when it took a 10% stake in multinational developer Satec. A year after completing a 162MW solar project in Brazil with the company, Equinor brought its total shareholding up to 15.2%. Last year, it joined Spanish fossil fuel power company Respol in pledging to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A number of solar renewable energy companies have set their sights on Poland as Europe’s next growth market over the past year. Having secured the country’s ‘first’ corporate solar power purchase agreement (PPA) at the start of the year, developer and distributor BayWa r.e. opened new offices and a warehouse in Poland in March, heralding in “a new era” for its PV-supplying power in the country. According to SolarPower Europe, Poland installed more than 2.2GW of solar capacity last year, more than doubling its growth in 2019. The trade body said this deployment drive has been supported by the rise in self-consumption founded on a favourable policy of net-metering/feed-in framework for prosumers.

An deeper dive into the Polish and wider European solar market will appear in the next issue of PV Tech Power later this month.

This November will see senior representatives from policy-makers, offtakers, transmission and distribution companies meet with developers, investors, lenders and other market players in Warsaw, Poland, for Large Scale Solar CEE, hosted by PV Tech publisher Solar Media.

The virtual/face-to-face hybrid event will help key stakeholders get to grips with the opportunity for large-scale solar in the country and understand the latest regulatory frameworks, how pipelines will develop and to win business. For more information, click here.

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