Witnica municipality – pioneering subsidy-free solar power in Poland
Witnica solar park is built ready! With a capacity of 64.6 MWp, it is by far the largest solar power plant in Poland.
This landmark project sees Witnica municipality pioneering subsidy-free solar power and achieving grid parity in Poland – two years ahead of predictions by a 2016 Becquerel Institute study. Check out our white paper about this topic
Grid parity is when an alternative energy source can generate power at a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) that is less than or equal to the cost of accessing conventional power sources from the grid.
In other words, our solar power project in Witnica will deliver the most cost-efficient energy possible in Poland! This is a very important step, for Poland and for the whole of Europe, towards 100% clean energy and the successful implementation of the sustainable energy transition.
The PV power plant is located in the municipality of Witnica in west Poland, approx. 30km east of the German border and 150km east of Berlin.
The site and property
The site consists of former agricultural land of category 4b soil quality (cat. 1: very good - cat. 7: very bad) with a total surface of 80 hectares. It belongs to the municipality of Witnica and a long-term lease contract has already been signed.
Sale of Electricity
10 years virtual PPA (off-site) via Górażdże Cement S.A. in Poland (subsidiary of Heidelberg Materials).
Securing a long-term electricity off-take for any project is critical. Subsidy-free development can only be achieved if there is a party willing to off-take a substantial share of the generation. Importantly, it secures the project’s cash-flow over a sufficient period of time, which allows the investor to recoup its investment and also provides the ‘off-taker’ an attractive and stable source of green electricity.
This meant we needed to find the right partner and create the appropriate contractual and commercial conditions which would allow both parties to minimise the risks. Despite these challenges, we were able to secure all the necessary permissions and grid connections, and our 64.6MWp Witnica solar park was grid connected mid 2021.
Learn more about the PPA and our subsidy-free solar project in Poland in our case study.
Planning and approval
- The realisation of a solar park takes extensive and detailed planning, which in this case included:
- Environmental Impact Assessment, granted and approved in 2014 by Urząd Miasta i Gminy, Witnica
- Development Plan in 2013 by Urząd Miasta i Gminy, Witnica
- Reservation of grid capacity of 40 MWac in 2017; additional grid capacity of 13 MWac arranged in April 2020
- Building Permit from the municipality in November 2017, by Urząd Miasta i Gminy, Witnica
- Grid Connection Contract with the local grid operator ENEA in January 2019
System design details
- Modules: 159.856 pieces of type 405-400 Wp Mono Perc Half Cell Modules from Jinko Solar
- Inverters: 500 Huawei string inverters
- Mounting system: Zimmermann
- Transformers: Siemens MV transformer and 36 pieces of 1600kVA 30/0,8kV and 15/0.8kV FEAG transformer stations
- Monitoring: be4energy
- Security System: Viamon
- The project includes the construction of a 30/110kV transformer substation, which is connected to an existing 110 kV substation owned by Enea Operator (DNO) through a new cable line of about 1,3 km.
- These works were carried out by a local ICP.
Local support and commitment have always been key to the success of our projects. We are always keen to support local infrastructure and have a strong belief that this leads to a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Total capacity and annual output
Our grid parity success story
BayWa r.e.’s grid parity success story began in Spain with our 175 MWp solar project, Don Rodrigo. Completed in 2018, it was the first subsidy-free utility-scale project in Europe. This breakthrough project was located near Seville, which has some of the highest solar irradiation in Europe.
But since then, we have made great strides to realise subsidy-free solar projects in much more uncertain climates across northern Europe, such as project Barth V in Germany.
Our activities in Poland
Many farmers in Poland have had a trusted relationship with our parent company BayWa AG, a leading trading company for agriculture, energy and building materials.
BayWa r.e. is a subsidiary of BayWa AG. We have been active in the Polish market since 2009 through our office in Warsaw, developing wind energy projects and, more recently, large-scale solar PV power plants.
Our Polish portfolio includes the Witnica Solar Park with a capacity of 64,6 MWp, Kamionka wind farm with a capacity of 30 MW, and various projects under development.
And of course, we continue to be there for our partners and customers once their projects have been connected to the grid. We have almost 100 MWp of renewable energy under operational management in Poland and are ready to expand with our industry leading platform. Our control centre is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to make sure that our wind and solar power plants are running smoothly and delivering the highest possible yields.
Since 2016, we have also supplied wholesale photovoltaic installation equipment to the Polish market through our solar trading team in Modlniczka near Cracow. Through this part of our business we delivered multiple rooftop and e-mobility energy solutions to the Polish branches of a large European retailer.
BayWa r.e. has been active in Poland since 2009
Solar parks promote biodiversity
The 2019 study ‘Solar Parks – Profits for Biodiversity’ by the German Federal Association of New Energy Industries (BNE), was based on the biological examination of 75 ground-mounted solar parks in Germany.
This has brought several positive insights about biodiversity at these sites.
By improving biodiversity at solar PV sites, the number of pollinating insects, e.g. wild bees, is increasing significantly. This has a positive effect on neighbouring agricultural land.
Insects are integral to the formation of humus, which in turn increases the fertility of the soil and at the same time binds CO2.
|July 2020||construction begins (surveys, vegetation management, fence installation, site access construction, internal roads, site logistics, etc.)|
|July 2020||installation of substructure|
|August – October 2020||module mounting begins|
|August – September 2020||cable trenching and AC/DC cable laying|
|September 2020||delivery of 1600kVA transformers|
|October 2020||start of grid connection cable route, laying of medium and high voltage cables|
|November 2020||plant completion|
|November – December||installation of high voltage substation|
|Q2 2021||plant fully commissioned|