Electricity prices for large industrial plants are steadily increasing. This causes an imbalance in the budget and most often ends up passing on additional costs to consumers. However, product price increases cannot be infinite. More and more managers understand that a lack of investment in photovoltaics for companies can end in a loss of market position.
Photovoltaics for businesses – some statistics from the energy market
A report prepared by Schneider Electric and the Digital Poland Foundation  provides interesting data on business electricity. According to its results, between January 2022 and March 2023, the wave of increases affected up to 86% of companies in Poland. For industrial plants, the percentage was slightly lower at 65% . In 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs, energy inflation resulted in an increase in the prices of the products offered.
By how much have electricity prices for companies increased? The report states that over the course of just one year by about 150%. Without much trouble, you can also find examples where the dynamics exceeded 200%. These are huge values, and there is little indication that we are at the end of the cycle of increases.
Businesses deal with these problems in three ways:
- They increase the prices of products or services.
- They deplete capital reserves.
- They use funds earmarked for investment.
And it is the latter method that is particularly popular with large industrial companies. The report shows that as many as 51% of units in this category have already taken an interest in RES installation.
Installation up to 150kW without a building permit
On August 23, 2023, President Andrzej Duda ratified the Act of August 17, 2023, amending the Law on Renewable Energy Sources and certain other laws. This is a milestone in the development of photovoltaics for businesses, photovoltaics for the farmer and industrial heat pumps in Poland. From now on, all PV power plants are exempt from the requirement to obtain a construction permit when the total power of the modules did not exceed 150 kW. This is three times more than just a few months ago.
As an installer, you know well that large companies preferred to install smaller installations. In this way, they avoided the additional costs and delays of having to prepare a construction project, a building permit application or, in specific circumstances, even an environmental impact report. The new guidelines cover not only solar power plants, but also the installation of heat pumps and free-standing solar collectors. Thanks to the increase in the limit, the capacity of RES connected to the system is expected to increase, which is expected to be particularly noticeable among business customers. It’s time to take advantage of the new gateway, get materials from the SOLITAN center and offer 150kW without a building permit to your customers.
Off-grid photovoltaics for industry – the biggest challenges
The development of photovoltaics for businesses depends on several factors. These include:
- Availability of space for construction.
- Availability of funds for investment.
- Availability of subsidy programs.
- Energy infrastructure capabilities.
Industrial customers are aware of the benefits of using RES. For them, building an installation is not so much an option as a necessity. For this reason, the issue of space for the foundation of PV modules is considered as early as the stage of purchasing a property or building a warehouse. Unshaded, large investment spaces are increasingly sought after, as they allow to put up infrastructure with a roof with appropriate load capacity and solar exposure parameters. Photovoltaics on the ground are also very popular.
The answer to the question of when is the best time to build a company’s PV power plant depends not only on available space, but also on cash and subsidies. The cost of erecting a 150 kW plant reaches up to 450-500 thousand zlotys, so it must be properly included in the company’s development strategy. Despite the lack of reasonable national calls for the development of RES in large companies, European competitions are opening up, for example, from the European Funds for Infrastructure, Climate, Environment program or the National Reconstruction Plan. Installation of photovoltaics for companies in this case can be in addition to other work (such as R&D or robotization), and the level of funding is up to 50%.
The state of the country’s energy infrastructure is also a challenge for industrial plants. Power production from PV modules is unstable. It reaches record highs during peak hours, only to become completely quiet in the evenings and nights. The problem arises at times when the factory in question is not working (such as weekends). What to do with the surplus when the transmission grids can’t take it? The solution may be photovoltaics with energy storage. The additional equipment will be able to accumulate a stream of electricity and supply it to process lines after restarting.
The benefits of industrial photovoltaics
The industrial customer is one of the best for negotiating the construction of PV systems. He knows very well that photovoltaics with energy storage will allow him:
- Save up to several hundred thousand zlotys over the life cycle of the installation.
- Strengthen his competitive position.
- Lower the unit cost of production.
- Improve image issues and reduce the carbon footprint of the product and the organization.
And that’s not the end of the benefits. The legal basis for so-called cable pooling or microgrids, which will allow surplus production to be sent to customers located near the installation (e.g., other companies or households), is gaining momentum.
As a result, discussions with industrial plants are mainly about timing and materials used. When investing half a million zlotys or even more, the customer wants to be sure that the purchased installation will be efficient and durable. That’s why it’s a good idea to have Bloomberg Tier 1 listed modules, inverters verified by Distribution System Operators or energy storage from reputable manufacturers. Visit SOLITAN, where you can choose from a wide variety of materials available off-the-shelf at affordable prices.
 Electricity 4.0. Cheaper, cleaner and more stable energy for businesses in Poland, Schneider Electric and Digital Poland Foundation, Warsaw 2023.
 which is associated with a greater awareness of how the market works and signing long-term contracts with a fixed price guarantee, as well as greater use of RES.