Poland’s second-largest solar farm opens at former coal mine

The second-largest solar power plant in Poland has opened at the site of a former open-pit coal mine. The facility, located in the Przykona municipality around 70 km northwest of Łódź, has 200 megawatt peak (MWp) of installed capacity.

That puts it just behind the country’s largest solar farm in Zwartowo – also built on the site of a former open-pit coal mine – which has a capacity of 204 MWp.

The new facility in Przykona, which covers an area equivalent to 375 football pitches and contains 308,000 bifacial photovoltaic panels, will generate nearly 220 GWh annually, enough energy to power more than 100,000 households.

The company behind it, EDP Renewables, says it will prevent more than 208,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Currently, around 70% of Poland’s electricity is generated from coal, which is by far the highest proportion in the European Union.

The power plant has the potential to be expanded by another 40 MW in installed capacity, reports Business Insider Polska. While that would make it Poland’s largest on current figures, the Zwartowo plant also itself has ambitions to expand to 290 MWp.

Poland has installed the EU’s third-highest amount of new solar power capacity this year.

„Poland’s solar performance has been remarkable,” writes @SolarPowerEU https://t.co/wBIVuEZYdK

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) December 20, 2022

Recent years have seen rapid development of renewable energy sources in Poland, as the country seeks to reduce emissions but also increase energy security and independence amid the disruption caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the growing cost of emissions under EU regulations.

Last year, Poland installed the third-highest amount of new solar power capacity in the European Union, almost 5 GW, behind only Germany and Spain.

At the end of June 2023, the installed capacity of renewables in Poland had increased by 5.1 GW year on year to 25.4 GW, notes energy industry news service Rynek Elektryczny, citing data from Energy Market Agency (ARE)

Solar capacity rose by more than 3.9 GW during this period, to 14.3 GW in total, representing a rise of 38%. Onshore wind, meanwhile, grew by 1.3 GW to 8.9 GW in total, a 17.4% rise. Poland’s first offshore wind farm – which has a planned capacity of up to 1.2 GW – is due to be completed in 2026

This year, Poland’s government set a new target to produce 51% of electricity from renewables by 2040, with a further 23% coming from nuclear. The country’s first nuclear power plant is planned to begin operation in the 2030s.

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Main image credit: EDP Renewables press release

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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