Solar auctions Poland: EPC from Halle receives surcharges for 17 MW solar parks - expected returns of 7.5 to 8 percent

2/27/17, 2:35 PM -

Achim Schäfer, Managing Director of Solar New Energy Holding in Halle/Germany, is pleased. At the first auction of photovoltaic concessions in Poland, the medium-sized company received surcharges of 9.2 to 9.4 cents/kWh for solar parks with a total of 17 MW. The expected net profit is 7.5 to 8 percent. The basis for the success is, however, an intensive market exploration and a strong local presence.

Solar auctions Poland with good rate of return, Costs of solar modules and other components similar to Germany.
Solar New Energy Holding, with its subsidiaries in western Poland, has laid the ground for 33 solar parks. 17 of these projects were awarded at the first solar auction of the Polish Energy Agency.

The requirements were high. Anyone who wanted to bid in the first auction of solar "mining rights" in Poland had to present a building permit for the solar park as well as a suitable plot of land with an approved development plan and approval by the local environmental authorities. An ambitious to-do list, "for the execution of which 15 to 18 months per project sometimes takes longer," says Achim Schäfer.

Active in Poland since 2012

The founder of Solar New Energy Holding from Halle (Saale) knows what he is talking about. He and his team have now run dozens of times through the Polish offices - and have been growing since the first attempts in 2012. "When the saturation of the German solar market began, we re-aligned our forces - to the Polish market," says the learned industrial salesman, who has been active in the solar power business for eight years. His calculation: "Poland still had no Renewable Energies Act in 2012. However, due to the EU directive 28/2009 it was clear that a corresponding regulation had to come sooner or later. We wanted to be prepared for that moment. "

Lot of patience needed

With a business partner he founded subsidiary companies in Germany's eastern neighbor. A small team of six employees from Stettin systematically searched for suitable, unshaded land near large overland lines, negotiated long-term usage options with the owners, and took care of these official permits."If it had gone after us, the auctions could have begun in 2014," said Schäfer, "at that time we had already developed around a dozen projects to offer." But the solar pioneers had to postpone the hope of an early harvest of their seed month after month. For the mills of Polish legislation grinded more slowly than they thought. "It took us a lot, both financially and nervously," the 50-year-old admits. But the founder and his team could not be deterred from their strategy. On the contrary: "We have used the time to start further projects."

17 out of 84 project concessions awarded

The first auction finally took place one day before the expiry of the EU deadline on 30 December 2016. When the Polish energy agency announced the results four days later, the jubilation at the headquarters in Halle and in the Polish branch in Stettin was just as much large as the relief: 17 of the total of 84 awarded concessions for solar parks each with one megawatt went to subsidiary companies of Solar New Energy Holding. Thus, the eight-headed team could even surpass international group such as Renesola or Yingli.

9.2 - 9.4 cents/kWh for 15 years

0.398 to 0.494 złoty per kilowatt-hour, which corresponds to 9.2 to 9.4 cents/kWh, will now redeem the 17 projects that are being funded over the next 15 years. They are all located in the north-east of Poland, also because of the proximity to the Stettiner branch as well as the well-developed road infrastructure. Components for the projects have not yet been selected. "We are still talking, talking and collecting," says Harald Berktold, Head of Project Development. In terms of the quality of the installations and the know-how of the installers, Poland is well on the road, he says, "you only have to look at who is currently on the road to construction sites in Berlin". But the wage and cost level is lower than in neighboring Germany. In addition to comparatively high surcharges, this is a major reason for an expected net profit of 7.5 to 8 percent.

No problems with product certifications

The necessary product certifications and technical connection standards don`t differ from Germany, he says. In addition, "the acceptance for photovoltaics is very good, the interest is extremely high". For the next PV auction in April the company well-equipped. "For 16 additional locations, we can immediately place bids," says Justina Berktold, Managing Director of all 33 project development companies. About 20 surfaces are in pre-development. However, the EPC company does not plan to enter the private PV roof market in Poland, says Berktold. (HCN)

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