Poland's solar power capacity triples in a year to 3.9 GW

WARSAW, March 2 (Reuters) - Poland’s installed capacity in solar power increased to 3.9 gigawatts (GW) in January from 1.3 GW a year ago, data from the grid operator PSE showed on Tuesday

Poland’s solar energy capacity has surged in the past two years due to generous subsidies from the government, which has encouraged households to install solar panels on roofs as the coal-reliant country aims to cut carbon emissions.

Data from the climate ministry showed that the number of households with solar panels rose to over 450,000 as of December 2020 from 4,000 in 2015.

“This is the most dynamically developing renewable energy technology in Poland,” Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka told Reuters, adding that the government will also continue to support big scale solar plants.

Poland plans to have 10-16 GW in installed capacity in solar power by 2040, on top of 7-10 GW and 8-11 GW in onshore and offshore wind respectively.

Kurtyka said he expected further growth in demand for electricity in Poland.

“We will need additional capacities and we see that they are being built mostly in zero-emission technology,” he added.

Poland was the only EU member not to commit to climate neutrality by 2050 when the bloc set the target in 2019 and the government has long courted political support from interests in coal.

But under pressure to cut emissions and with surging costs of burning coal, the government has encouraged investment in clean energy sources. (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko Editing by Alexandra Hudson)