PVaaS gaining popularity in Poland


More and more businesses in Poland, particularly from the real estate and retail sectors, are interested in acquiring photovoltaic installations under a service model (PV as a Service – PVaaS). Apart from the potential for reducing energy costs and fostering more sustainable development, service projects permit companies to limit initial investment expenses.

Installations under the service model do not necessitate property owners or their tenants to bear high initial investment costs, and include comprehensive PV installation services – from energy and financial audits, through assembly, connection, startup, and service, to the transfer of ownership of the installation. Entrepreneurs using installed photovoltaic systems pay either a fixed monthly subscription or a variable fee based on the extent to which they use the installation.

-“At present, every other project we carry out in Poland is in the PVaaS format. Three years ago, when we first introduced this model, we attracted customers with a total capacity of 5MWp. This year we aim to approach 100MWp,” says Ireneusz Kulka, Country Manager at EDP Energia Polska, a leading supplier of photovoltaic projects in Poland. “The fact that this service does not count towards the company’s balance sheet and does not affect credit appraisal is important for our clients. The company enjoys all the benefits of renewable energy sources, covering its own electricity needs at lower prices while also having insurance, servicing, and component replacement provided by the supplier, which relieves it organizationally.”

The demand for PVaaS projects is increasing in line with the dynamic development of the photovoltaic industry in Poland. According to the latest figures from the Energy Market Agency (ARE), photovoltaic capacity in Poland stood at 14.7GW in July, representing a year-on-year increase of almost 40%. In recent years, Poland has been at the forefront of European countries in terms of the increase in installed capacity in this segment of the energy market.

In the opinion of experts from the DLA Piper law firm, there are currently no significant legal barriers hindering the development of photovoltaics. On the contrary, successive regulatory changes are tending towards a softening and liberalization of rules.

– “Recent changes to the law confirm that photovoltaic installations on building roofs basically do not require an environmental decision. Now every building can have this type of system installed by default, unless a local spatial development plan explicitly prohibits it,” says Oskar Waluśkiewicz, Partner and head of the energy practice at DLA Piper in Warsaw. – “The issue of the time needed to make agreements with operators of electricity systems remains problematic. However, in the context of changes to regulations on direct lines, aimed at simplifying and liberalizing procedures in the rooftop PV area, we also expect an improvement.”

Favorable changes in regulations have come about with the amendment of the ordinance on projects that may significantly affect the environment and the act on spatial planning. New regulations concerning so-called “direct lines”, designed to facilitate the sale of electricity from holders of renewable energy installations to consumers linked to such installations, have appeared in recent weeks.

The development of renewable energy in the commercial sector will be fostered by high electricity prices, the falling cost of new technology solutions and regulations designed to halt climate change.

– “Just a few years ago there were few investments in renewable energy projects, primarily motivated by a sense of environmental awareness often perceived as caprice or fad. Now it is a decision that has broad business support,” says Emilia Dębowska, Sustainability Director at Panattoni, a leading developer of industrial and logistics real estate. “Regulatory requirements and high energy prices mean that property owners and their tenants are seeking solutions that are favorable in terms of cost balance.”

Planned regulations, including the requirement for buildings to be partially energy self-sufficient, as well as an increasingly accommodating approach by banks to financing projects related to energy transformation, are significantly accelerating the further development of photovoltaics.

– “In a few years, buildings not meeting ESG criteria, especially those that are not energy efficient, will be hard to sell, resulting in banks today being more willing to finance investments related to renewable energy sources,” adds Michał Bryszewski, Head of Property & Asset Management at Savills advisory firm. – “We are carefully analyzing the solutions available today, and photovoltaic projects in a service model are becoming a very valuable option for us.”