- As of April this year, a new, more complex billing system has been implemented for home PV owners.
- The regulatory change initially caused a sharp increase in orders at the end of 2021 and in the first quarter of 2022, then a massive slowdown in the market
- Photovoltaic installers, who have had complete order books in recent years, have faced the threat of financial collapse. – After April 1, practically nothing happened, the market froze. The request that was raging suddenly stopped. President Columbus notes that it was a cold shower for the entire industry
- Zieliński predicts that many small companies will not be able to survive in the market. It is estimated that about 43.8 thousand people work in the field of photovoltaic installations. People
- More important information can be found on Onet homepage
The PV industry’s problems began at the end of last year, when households began investing in the panels collectively to make them before April 1, 2022, that is, before changing the billing system for consumers (owners of small solar installations to generate electricity for their own needs).
– We were doing well, but future turmoil related to the new consumer law caused the large-scale community to start buying photovoltaics. The industry was not ready for the next wave of boom. The last two quarters of 2021 were a massive price squeeze that extended into the first quarter of 2022. We have maintained a leading position, but we have not been able to achieve satisfactory prices. At the same time, the components began to become more expensive. Subcontractors took advantage of the boom moment and raised prices, which severely damaged the stability of our business – explains David Zielinsky, CEO of Columbus Energy.
Thus, this company is one of the largest in the market Micro PV installationsrecorded a net loss of 16.4 million PLN in 2021. This year also started poorly – In the first quarter of 2022, the loss has already reached 13.8 million PLN, despite the excellent demand for solar panels. Columbus’ prices on the NewConnect market, after an earlier staggering increase, have fallen by as much as 80% in 12 months. In addition, the debt cycle began to diminish, as the company violated some of the financial ratios required in its loan agreements.
– We are discussing this with the banks. We invested our loans in solar farms that we want to sell now. There is no shortage of willing people – Zieliński guarantees.
Therefore, Columbus Energy plans to sell solar farms that have already been built this year with a total capacity of 62 MW and another 43 MW of power in wind farms under construction. That’s not all – for the sake of integrity, costs must also be significantly reduced, including staffing. At the end of last year, the whole group employed more than 1,200 people. Now the crew should have a maximum of 800-1000 people.
“Market freezes”, heat pumps will save the industry?
After April 1, the industry became stagnant. Whoever wanted to install the panels on the roof, did it earlier so that he could settle the calculations on the basis of the old rules, that is, return the excess electricity produced to the grid and then get up to 80 percent. This energy is at a different time, for example in winter. The new regulations have completely changed the way consumers settle.
According to the new rules, the producer sells surplus capacity at wholesale pricesAnd buy the shortage of electricity from the energy trading company – on the same terms as other homes, that is, at an additional fee, eg for distribution. So the purchase price of power will be very different from the selling price.
– After April 1, practically nothing happened in the industry, the market froze. The request that was raging suddenly stopped. It’s been a cold shower for the entire industry — according to President Columbus’s report.
He adds, however, that in June, we can already see an improvement in demand for the panels, and the company has high hopes for the sale of heat pumps, which in the face of sharp increases in coal and gas prices are becoming an increasingly popular source of home heating. Thanks to this and as a result of reducing costs Columbus – as announced by the company’s board – is set to break breakeven in June and achieve a positive operating result in the third quarter.
Heat pumps could be a lifesaver for many companies in the industry, because the surge in demand for small solar power installations still has to wait. However, it turns out that it is not so simple.
– a discount heat pumps This is now the idea of many companies specialized in installing solar panels so far. It is not so simple, but often it requires removing the old heat source in the house and updating the entire heating node. There are not many professionals who can do this. It is estimated that the demand in Poland for heat pumps may reach 100-200 thousand. piece per year. Accessing components is still an issue. Today it is a rare product throughout Europe, the devices mainly come from China. Zelensky says it is difficult to build a company in this field today.
convince it Thousands of small businesses today don’t have the capabilities or the resources to stay in business. The quarterly demand for photovoltaic installations has decreased significantly, while the importance of the technology will increase. According to the CEO of Columbus, the winners are those companies that supply customers not only with panels or heat pumps, but also IT solutions for energy cost management, and, for example, “store” energy virtually in the same way as in the old billing system.
It’s time for the big farms
In recent years, Poland has recorded a huge increase in the capacity of solar power plants. In May this year, the total installed capacity in photovoltaic cells has already exceeded 10 gigawatts. According to a report from the Institute of Renewable Energy (IEO), for nearly 80 percent. The share in installed capacity corresponds to consumers approaching one million. The report indicates that about 43.8 thousand people are currently employed in the PV installation industry. People.
The report also shows that in 2021, Poland probably (not all countries confirmed the final and official data) ranked second, after Germany, in terms of the increase in installed PV capacity in the European Union. Just last year, the increase in new capacity in Poland was more than 3.7 gigawatts.
According to the latest IEO forecast, the photovoltaic market will maintain its growth dynamics in the coming years. Already at the end of this year, the capacity of all installed PV sources may reach 12 GW, in 2025 it will be 20 GW, and in 2030 – up to 28.5 GW.. This will be possible thanks to investments in high capacity facilities for businesses and industry as well Strong development of large solar farms is expected.
Author: Barbara Oksińska, Business Insider Polska
“Infuriatingly humble musicaholic. Problem solver. Reader. Hardcore writer. Alcohol evangelist.”