Lightsource BP aims at gigawatt-scale solar power for Poland by 2025
By Michał Głowacki, head of business development, Poland
Lightsource BP has been present in the Polish energy market since late 2020. With over 80% of Poland’s energy coming from fossil fuels, there is a huge opportunity for renewables, with solar playing a pivotal role in this transition.
In June 2021 Lightsource BP secured its first solar projects in Poland through a 757-megawatt peak (MWp) co-development deal with an experienced, local renewable developer. The portfolio consisted of nine projects in the regions of Zachodniopomorskie, Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie and Wielkopolskie. The first 50MWp project is set to commence construction in the beginning of next year, it is fully permitted and awaiting the end of winter. Next project of 130MWp will follow in Q1 2023.
The total capex to bring the entire pipeline to operation could reach €500 million. Lightsource BP will sell the power through a variety of channels including looking for large corporations to partner with via long-term contracts. These projects will also be included in future rounds of Poland’s renewable energy auctions.
Once operational the projects from the transaction will provide enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 362,870 homes. The pipeline has provided Lightsource BP a solid foundation for a long-term large-scale development across Poland, bringing with it a wealth of global experience.
Lightsource BP Poland has grown its development portfolio to 1.9GW. Along with the growth of that pipeline, Lightsource bp’s team based in Poland has also grown with 23 industry specialists with versatile background in the energy sector now working with us.
The solar landscape in Poland has grown significantly in recent years, with over 11GW of projects being developed and energised, with 8.7GW of this volume coming from rooftop installations developed over the last three years under the state subsidy programme Mój Prąd (‘My Electricity’).
As the lowest cost energy in history, utility-scale photovoltaics will allow Poland to decarbonise economically and efficiently in the coming years. Over 6GW were granted support in the state auction scheme and will be operational within the next few years. Large-scale Lightsource BP projects will contribute affordable, clean, low-carbon power to Poland’s electricity system.
Lightsource BP has been financing, developing and operating solar projects for more than a decade. It began as a small UK start-up, formed of six people, with a plan to put retail investment into solar energy projects. In just a few months, Lightsource became the UK’s largest solar energy company, investing in and delivering many of the UK’s first utility-scale solar projects.
In 2017, Lightsource partnered with BP in a 50:50 joint venture uniting deep solar experience, with BP’s global footprint, investment and energy trading capabilities. Since the partnership began Lightsource BP’s global pipeline of projects has expanded to more than 50GW and is still rising. Along with portfolio growth, Lightsource BP has expanded its footprint now being active in 19 markets globally, and nearly 1,000 employees.
As Lightsource BP continues to grow rapidly, it has set ambitious targets focused around delivering 25GW by 2025, aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5C. However, Lightsource BP is going beyond solar, having just published its first sustainability report, including biodiversity net gain targets and implementing multi-use solar, including agrivoltaics. Also known as agrisolar or dual-use solar, agrivoltaics is the simultaneous use of land for both photovoltaic power generation and agriculture
This month Lightsource BP sent a delegation to COP27 for the first time, which was an opportunity to meet with industry leaders, governments, and businesses to discuss how solar will be a key part of the energy transition.
Solar’s emergence as the world’s low-carbon, low-cost and predictable supply of energy comes at a critical moment for Poland, which urgently needs to transform its power system and reduce the carbon footprint of the energy mix to maintain the competitiveness of the state’s growing economy. The global expertise offered by Lightsource BP in delivering utility-scale projects working locally for Poland will significantly contribute to achieving this goal.