The construction of a small 50-150 kW installation is connected with several obligations, including registration as a producer of power in the small installation and acquisition of new connection conditions.
- Registration as a producer of power in the small installation
The operation of a small installation will meet the definition of a business activity connected with power production in accordance with Art. 7 of the Renewable Energy Sources Act if the installation is connected with the distributor’s network. For that purpose, a power producer must be entered in the register of producers operating small installations kept by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office.
Pursuant to Art. 9 of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the entrepreneur must fulfil a number of obligations and in particular:
- have a legal title to a real property and an installation;
- enter into a connection agreement;
- guarantee the proper technical condition of the installation, including technical equipment meeting fire, environmental and sanitary standards;
- keep documentation containing the data of power produced;
- prepare and deliver quarterly reports on quantities of and other information about power produced to the President of the Energy Regulatory Office.
The producer is entered in the register within 7 days of the receipt of the request. The registration fee is PLN 616 and the register is open.
The performance of a business activity consisting in the production of power in the small installation without registration will be subject to a cash penalty of PLN 1,000, which may be imposed by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (Art. 170.4.2 of the Renewable Energy Sources Act).
The production of power in the small installation is not subject to any concession (Art. 32.1.1.b of the Power Law).
- Obligations connected with connecting the new installation to the network via the existing connection
An entrepreneur producing power in the small installation has a status of a producer within the meaning of the Renewable Energy Act, because they produce electricity from renewable energy sources (Art. 2.39). If the new installation is connected to the network via the existing connection, a so called connection procedure must be met (i.e. a connection agreement must be entered into). This obligation usually stems from the operator’s distribution network operation instruction, as well. Such an obligation also stems from, a contrario, a preferential connection of micro installations on the basis of an application. Thus, if an entrepreneur wants to connect a small installation, they cannot take advantage of the preferential connection (based on an application) and should make the connection in the way set out in the Power Law, i.e. by entering into a new amended connection agreement (Art. 7 of the Power Law). In addition, the requirement of entering into the connection agreement stems from Art. 9.1.2) of the Renewable Energy Sources Act.
- Can electricity be produced in the small installation without registration or the Distribution Network Operator’s consent?
Many companies that invest in photovoltaic installations are able to consume all power they produce without releasing any surplus to the network. Therefore, does the entrepreneur have any obligations connected with necessary registration or execution of a new agreement / an amendment to the existing agreement or with acquisition of new connection conditions?
This depends on the physical connection of the photovoltaic installation with the network. Such installations are usually connected to the internal network of a company (before the meter) and they become physically connected with the national network. Even if power surplus release limiters that are available in the market are installed, the photovoltaic installation is not considered separate. Therefore the entrepreneur is not qualified as a power producer.
Thus, only if in the company there is a separate network where power collection points are supplied from the photovoltaic installation without power supply from the distribution network operator’s network, such an entrepreneur is neither classified as a producer nor needs to register the installation.
A very limited group of companies can afford to be dependent on solar energy. For example, companies that consume electricity to power their data processing servers (usually for other entities) can operate solely when the sun shines. Most companies would, however, have to look for supplementary sources of power (which could be connected with other legal restrictions) or compensate daily production with power warehouses.
Therefore, it is possible to operate a small 50-150 kW installation without registration or the distribution network operator’s consent, but such an installation must be separated and physically disconnected from the national network.