Photovoltaics are concerned about changing the law. “The limit indicated in the project is meaningless”

– In the draft law amending the Spatial Planning and Development Act, addressed to the normal public consultation, the provision criticized by us has been liberalized in such a way as to allow the establishment of PV farms under Class IV under the WZ. Unfortunately, the project still stipulates that the establishment of PV parks above 1 MW should only be allowed on the basis of Local Spatial Development Plans (MPZP). The proposed regulation would still be just as damaging to photovoltaics as the 10H rule to wind turbines, said Paweł Konieczny, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Polish Solar Energy Association.

  • – Currently there is a discussion about the boundary between the location of PV farms under zoning conditions and the location based on the Local Spatial Development Plan (MPZP) – says Paweł Konieczny, Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Polish Solar Energy Association .
  • – According to the government project, this limit would be the farm capacity of 1 MW and larger farms could be established only on the basis of the local development plan. In our opinion, this limit should be significantly increased – emphasizes Paweł Konieczny.
  • – Nevertheless, we still believe that it is better to leave the regulations regarding the location of PV farms unchanged, not to introduce the obligation to place PV installations solely on the basis of the MPZP – emphasizes our interlocutor.

During the pre-consultation of the draft law amending the Spatial Planning and Development Act, you criticized the provision that blocks the establishment of PV parks with a capacity of more than 1 MW on the basis of development conditions, as you considered that it block or at least significantly slow down industry development. What has the bill, which has already been up for discussion for normal public consultations, achieved in this matter?

– Our actions – which indicated the risk of blocking the development of photovoltaic energy by prohibiting the ability to locate PV parks based on construction conditions (WZ), with the exception of stand-alone solar parks with a capacity of up to 1.0 MW (if their location is on V and VI class land) – have been partially successful.

Read more: Investors warn: This regulation would freeze solar farms

In the draft law amending the Spatial Planning and Development Act, addressed to normal public consultation, the provision criticized by us has been relaxed to such an extent that the establishment of PV farms under Class IV was permitted under the WZ.

Unfortunately, the project still stipulates that the establishment of PV parks above 1 MW should only be allowed on the basis of Local Spatial Development Plans (MPZP). The proposed regulation would still be just as damaging to photovoltaics as the 10H rule to wind turbines.

See also: In June, the Sejm may consider liberalization of the 10H rule

Location rules more important than it seems

To be clear, consider what changes in the investment process are the planned change in the location of PV parks.

– The point is that limiting the ability to locate PV farms over 1 MW only to MPZP would mean that applying for the issuance of connection conditions, which is currently the biggest challenge for the entire industry, would not be possible until after 2 -3 years from the application for including the PV farm in the local development plan…

At the very least, this would discourage investment in PV and block the development of photovoltaic energy in the agricultural sector in Poland. We get a lot of signals, especially from small Polish companies, that in this case they will stop working and lay off people. Exactly the same thing happened after the entry into force of the so-called Act 10 H. A large branch of the Polish economy has collapsed …

Since the criticized regulation has only been partially amended after preliminary consultation (indicating that the regulations regarding the location of PV parks will be changed sooner), what are your expectations now?

– There is currently discussion about the boundary between the location of PV parks under the zoning conditions and the location based on the zoning plan. According to the government project, this limit would be the farm capacity of 1 MW and larger farms could be established only on the basis of the local development plan.

In our opinion, this limit should be increased significantly.

To what capacity and why?

– From the point of view of Poland’s energy security and the need to maintain the growth rate of energy generated from renewable sources in the country’s energy mix, such a reasonable limit, in our opinion, is the power of 15-20 MW. This is partly due to technical reasons, but it is also due to economic factors.

First of all, it is the power that you can try to connect to the MV line, and most importantly – directly to the main power point (GPZ).

Second, contrary to the first feeling, it is not the case that the bigger the company, the more economical its execution becomes.

“Sweet spots” are medium-sized projects with a capacity of about ten or a dozen MW, and then only very large projects, with a capacity of even more than 50 MW. This of course has to do with the connection costs.

In the case of these large companies, which require a relatively large amount of space, the entire planning process may have some justification. But with medium-sized projects, which do not arouse social controversy, the impediment to the project development process is incomprehensible – certainly in the current situation.

Notes to the designer about connections to the network

Regardless of the level of PV park power or grid voltage at which the boundary for locating PV parks based on WZ would be set, someone would be dissatisfied…

– Of course, no matter where the boundary is drawn that entitles to locating PV farms based on WZ, a group of stakeholders will be dissatisfied … it is necessary to be able to locate WZ the largest possible PV farms.

This does not alter the fact that we still believe that it is better to leave the regulations regarding the location of PV parks unchanged, and not to introduce the obligation to design PV installations solely on the basis of the local layout plan. place.

We judge the current legal status as good for the development of PV farms in Poland, but if – in our view especially for the protection of agricultural land – planning procedures, and thus ultimately investments in PV farms, prove difficult, then capacity of PV parks that can be established under the WZ.

The limit of 1 MW indicated in the project makes no sense… Even in the energy law, an installation of 1 MW is defined as small.

The draft bill to amend the Spatial Planning and Development Act is subject to regular consultation and must therefore be accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). What does the RIA say about the effects of changes in the rules for the establishment of PV parks?

– Although the draft law amending the Spatial Planning and Development Act threatens to block the development of photovoltaic energy in Poland in the solar park segment, unfortunately the RIA of the project does not mention the effects of changes in the rules for the location of PV farms for the labor market, investment or the Polish energy sector.

Project initiators should keep in mind that the probability of a new PV farm project getting connection requirements is currently very slim, and therefore the process of verifying this possibility should be simple, and they are drafting regulations that extend the waiting time from 3-4 months ( location based on WZ) up to 2 -3 years (location based on the Local Plan) for the sole possibility of requesting grid connection conditions.

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