The installed capacity of industrial-scale photovoltaic generators (50 kW and above subject to licensing or non-licensing) increased by more than 160 MW in the first half of 2021 and exceeded 1,568 MW – according to new data provided by the transmission system operator Mavir. Expansion in this category last year was almost 240 MW every six months.
According to the statistics of the first quarter of this year, the installed capacity of the household-sized solar power plants (HMKE) increased by slightly more than 50 MW to over 770 MW – revealed by János Péter Horváth, President of the Hungarian Energy and Utilities Regulatory Authority (MEKH) from an interview with Portfolio. In this segment, capacity increased by an average of 60 MW per quarter in 2020, ie the slowdown in stock growth is smaller here.
The slowdown in growth, mainly in the large category, was mainly due to higher prices and shortages of solar raw materials and components, as well as global transport capacities related to the coronavirus epidemic.
This, the expected temporary market phenomenon, in many cases led the investors to reschedule and postpone the project.
Based on the support decisions issued in the KÁT and METÁR systems, in addition to the already implemented nearly 1,600 MW, there is also a support decision for a solar power plant enabling the construction of about 1,700 MW of capacity, which may be further expanded due to the third METÁR tender. Although the future construction of these cannot be assured – especially in the case of decisions issued in the older KÁT system – the deposit deposited by the winners of the METÁR tenders is an important guarantee.
The increase in prices also affected the market of HMKEs, which are mainly implemented in the framework of retail investments, but here the effect of the home renovation support available from the beginning of 2021 may have been much stronger.
On the one hand, because with the aid of up to 50 percent of the investment, the price increase was much more affordable than in the industrial-scale category. But also because after the start of the construction was announced by the government in the fall of 2020, surely many have waited until the new year to implement their plans to install the solar system. However, the material impact of the projects launched in the first months of 2021 could not yet appear in the first quarter statistics.
However, the data for the second quarter will already envelopably indicate a huge expansion in the domestic HMKE portfolio, which may be strengthened by the introduction of gross settlement, which was allowed to be launched in the middle of the year (and blown down at the last minute).
Based on the interest from solar installation companies, it is easy to imagine that we will see growth of much more than 100 MW in the second quarter. If the capacity expansion in both categories were to continue at the pace seen so far this year, the installed capacity of domestic solar power plants would increase by a total of about 520 MW in 2021, by almost 25 percent, to approximately 2,650 MW.
In the 2010 decade, solar power plants became dominant members of power plant mixes worldwide, from virtually zero levels.
Compared to the leading states in this field in Hungary, the process started later, so solar power plants have gained ground in Hungary in the last five years, but this time was also enough to consider the total installed capacity of the domestic electricity system (10083.2 MW). achieve a share of almost 25 percent (their role in production is, of course, much smaller – less than 5 percent in 2020 – due to their lower availability and utilization compared to conventional power plants).
In the theoretical case, if the growth rate seen in the current part of 2021 were to stabilize by the end of the decade, capacity would rise above 7,300 MW by 2030, while the energy policy goal is to reach nearly 6,500 MW (National Energy Strategy, National Energy and Climate Plan). However, a number of uncertainties make it difficult to make such a long-term forecast based on the current trend, and it is not easy to predict technological and regulatory conditions in the extremely fast-growing sector for a decade, but not for a few years. However, the general experience of recent years has been that the growth of the solar power plant stock has consistently exceeded expectations.
Cover photo: MTI Photo / Tamás Kovács