The Polish solar thermal industry exudes confident. It reached one of the highest growth rates of all European countries in recent years. Average growth has meant around 43% annually since 2001, according to Grzegorz Wisniewski , head of the Polish Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO). In 2009, the newly installed collector area amounted to an estimated 200,000 m2; the target for 2010 is 350,000 m2.
It makes the national “Solar Action Plan” an ambitious one, too. The Plan aims at creating a share of 1.8 % in Poland's entire demand for heating energy – which would correspond to almost 20 million m2 of newly installed collector area by 2020. 2010's solar share in the entire heating and cooling energy is estimated at 0.1 % (see solar thermal action plan attached).
The far-reaching target mentioned at the beginning is the result of a discussion going on among members of the Solar Alliance 20x2020, a group of manufacturers, system suppliers and installers covering about 50 % of the market. They founded the Alliance in summer 2009 and left organizational matters in the hands of the IEO (see node on this website).
“When we devised a roadmap for the future, we had no previous project to guide us,” Wisniewski explained during a meeting of associations held in Brussels at the beginning of December, which was organised by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF). IEO benefited from the scientific help of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in developing the Solar Action Plan. The institute located in the south of Germany used the simulation model for the earlier study on the Greenpeace -Energy [R]evolution. You can see the overall results of Poland's Solar Action Plan in the following figure or find the summarized version in the attached presentation.
The German Aerospace Center presenting the ambitious scenario of Poland's ”Solar Action Plan”. Figure: Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO)
Biomass is a traditionally very dominant provider of energy in the Polish heating sector. In 2005, it covered 7 % of the entire energy demand for heating and cooling in the country. Looking at the very ambitious Greenpeace/DLR model, biomass is envisaged to cover 21 % of the reduced overall demand in energy in 2020, with solar possessing a share of 1.8 % in it. That would be more than the basic target of Poland, which calculates with a share of 15 % in all three sectors: electricity, transport and heating & cooling.
And how are preparations doing for the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP)? “The NREAP tender was published by the Ministry of Energy in October 2009 and the work was contracted to an external consultant, with a deadline for delivery by the end of November 2009,” explained Wisniewski. First results should be published in December. Unfortunately, the Polish government worked with a much more conservative scenario in “Poland's Energy Policy until 2030” (a reference for NREAP) than did IEO in the industrial solar action plan alongside EU studies, including the ESTIF study on solar potential in Poland and the simulations of the REPAP project (see the following figure).
Different scenarios of the solar thermal sector in Poland”.
Figure: Institute for Renewable Energy
The original national policy would not put solar thermal technology past 5 PJ (petajoules) - one fifth of what is stated in the Solar Action Plan. Despite that, “The study of the Alliance was recommended by the Ministry for Energy as one of the additional references. Even so, we still do not know what is going to happen,” admitted Wisniewski.