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Home Institute’s Conferences The third Solar Thermal Industry Forum'2010 took place in Niepolomice, 19th May 2010 see summary
The third Solar Thermal Industry Forum'2010 took place in Niepolomice, 19th May 2010 see summary PDF Print E-mail

III Solar Thermal Energy Forum - The Opportunities for Development and Challenges by 2020
Niepolomice, May 19th, 2010

Organizer: Institute for Renewable Energu
in cooperation with the Office of the City and Municipal Niepołomice

Honorary Patronage:


Deputy Prime Minister and  Minister of Economy - Waldemar Pawlak

Minister of the Environment - Andrzej Kraszewski

The President of The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management - Jan Rączka


Partner Forum


Institutional Partners



Media Patronage






This year's forum is organized within the framework of the European Solar Days

Summary and conslusions

III Solar Thermal Energy Forum was held on 19 May 2010 in Royal Castle in Niepołomice within the framework of the European Solar Days. The Forum was accompanied by an exhibition of solar installations. The following companies took part in the exhibition: Action Energy, Az Profitor, Eco-Schubert, Ensol, Hewalex, Nibe- Biawar, Skorut, Solar Bin, Solver, Vaillant, Viessmann and Watt. There were over 200 participants of the Forum and they represented various stakeholders of solar energy sector: installers, equipment producers, associations, academics and other. It became an event for the whole Polish solar thermal energy industry and attracted attention of the media.

The Forum was organised by Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO) in cooperation with the municipality Niepołomice. The honorary patronage took: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Mr Waldemar Pawlak, Minister of the Environment Mr Andrzej Kraszewski, President of the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW) Mr Jan Rączka, and the governor of Małopolska province Mr Stanisław Kracik.

The patronage of the Forum was taken by: Masovian Regional Bank (Mazowiecki Bank Regionalny) and Bosch Rexroth.

Institutional Partners: Masovian Energy Agence (Mazowiecka Agencja Energetyczna), Podkarpacka Energy Agence (Podkarpacka Agencja Energetyczna), Solar Alliance 20x2020, Polish Corporation of Sanitary, Gas and Air-Condition  Technology (Polska Korporacja Techniki Sanitarnej, Grzewczej, Gazowej i Klimatyzacji) and Polish Bank Association (Związek Banków Polskich).

The Forum was under media patronage of periodicals: Business and Ecology (Biznes i Ekologia), Clean Energy (Czysta Energia), Instalator’s Magasine (Magazyn Instalatora), New Energy (Nowa Energia), Polish Installer (Polski Instalator), Photovoltaic Market (Rynek Fotowoltaiczny), Installation Market (Rynek Instalacyjny) as well as the following vortals :,,,,

Mr Grzegorz Wiśniewski, President of the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO) opened the Forum and referred to the previous edition. He reminded the discussion and the postulates of the participants of the II Forum who had agreed that the most important actions that should be taken in the years 2009-2010 include: extension of the range of beneficiaries of subsidies from ecological funds dedicated to individual clients and small projects accompanied by maximum simplification of the system of such subsidies, introduction of tax reductions (PIT) for construction of  home solar water and facilities heating and cooling systems, introduction of the system of national promotion of certified solar energy appliances and systems, inception of active promotion of exports of solar collectors, activation – with support of the government and the ecologic funds as well as together with close cooperation with the solar energy sector – extensive specific trainings for professional installers of solar thermal systems that would allow to obtain certificates issued by administrative authority.  President Wiśniewski underlined that already a part of II Forum participants’ final postulates was implemented by Polish government and what might have been particularly satisfying was a concrete plan of introduction of subsidies for individual beneficiaries with support of NFOŚiGW as well as export promotion within the framework of Greenevo project, managed by Ministry of the Environment. He added however, that still the solar energy industry awaits realization of the rest of the tasks. Minister of the Environment Professor Andrzej Kraszewski in his letter to Forum participants confirmed the will of Ministry of the Environment for provision of constant support system directed to solar energy sector in the next few years and a fast start of a new program implemented by the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management that introduces subsidies to capital instalments of bank loans available for private persons and homeowners associations. He underlined that the support for solar energy sector is not only an effective instrument for environment protection but also a tool supporting business growth and development of a green economy in Poland.

Ms Aneta Więcka from the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO) presented results of the IEO’s newest analysis of sales statistics of solar thermal collectors in 2009, that was developed on the basis of surveys filled in by producers and foreign distributors. The results of the study demonstrate that in 2009 almost 144 thousands m2 of solar collectors was sold in the domestic market and the cumulative number of solar collectors installed in Poland exceeded 0.5 mln m2. The yearly turnover of the solar thermal systems market is estimated at 430 mln PLN. The average growth rate of the sector in 2001-2009 equalled to 43% and was the highest increase among all renewable energy sectors. Moreover, Ms Aneta Więcka described the sales of solar installations by provinces. The highest sales were noted in malopolskie and śląskie provinces that are the regions where the vast majority of producers and distributors of solar systems is located.  The results of the IEO’s analysis indicate that 4 companies amounted for 60% share of the market, sales growth rate exceeding 100% was observed in case of 4 companies, there was a decrease of the sales in case of 3 companies and 6 firms were involved in exports of collectors. Apart from that the sector is fragmented (market share in case of 13 firms is less than 2%) and there is a high competition within the sector.

Mr Olivier Drücke, President of European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) presented the situation and growth perspectives of solar thermal energy market in the EU and its contribution to implementation of the directive 2009/28/WE on the promotion of use of energy from renewable sources for solar industry and its role in the national plans for RES up to 2020 (so called Action Plans). Describing the last ESTIF statistics of the solar collectors sales in Europe he noted that in the “crisis” year 2009 there was also a decrease in sales of solar collectors compared to the sales in 2008 in the EU. Mr Drücke remarked that Poland’s share in the solar collectors market in the EU increased from 2% in 2008 to 3% in 2009 and Polish solar thermal energy market, as the one of a few, grew constantly despite the overall crisis in the EU.

He described also the examples of countries where application of the effective support instruments triggered off fast progress of the market (e.g. the newest system of microsubsidies in Portugal) and he encouraged to learn from mistakes made within promotion systems for solar energy that occurred unsuccessful when short-term support instruments were introduced accidentally and unexpectedly withdrawn („stop & go effect”) and that almost always they were costly and ineffective. Preparation of the action plans for RES up to 2020 performed by the governments creates an opportunity for sustainable and stable growth of solar energy sector in the next decade as well as a firm ground for its further development. Mr Drücke underlined a significant role of reliable statistical analyses and necessity for market monitoring and effectiveness of support systems, also in the context of implementation of the new directive on the promotion of use of energy from renewable sources.

Mr Grzegorz Wiśniewski  in his presentation „Vision of solar thermal energy development in Poland and action plan up to 2020” described an “industrial” road map that was prepared by „Solar Panel 20x2020” in cooperation with the IEO for the next decade, proving that Polish solar thermal energy sector has the potential to achieve 8% share of “green“ heat consumption in 2020 (solar thermal energy is second heat source to biomass), what requires the installation of approximately 20 mln m2 of solar collectors and is an ambitious but entirely realistic challenge. The optimization of the support system for solar thermal energy and rational spending of public money would enable fulfilment of the aforementioned targets with stable support of public funds in the 2009-2014 period reaching average level of about 12% of total investment - 180 mln PLN per year (that is the scope of subsidies given usually to 4-5 projects in other RES sectors). It is essential however to allocate these funds in a cost-effective way that secures the maximum number of installations over a given amount of funds intended for support as well as the highest possible quality of products and services that enter the market. Due to a relatively low intensity of required support, the solar energy sector should be respected more fairly and seriously as a beneficiary in the next period of the EU funds perspective (2015-2020) and in the national action plan for energy from renewables energy sources for the years 2010-2020, concluded Mr Wiśniewski.

Mr Łukasz Tomaszewski, the representative of the Energy Department in Ministry of Economy (MG), that is responsible for the development of renewable energy sources, presented Ministry standpoint on the share of solar sector in the National Renewable Energy Action Plan („Action Plan”). The data presented for discussion included 3 development scenarios for solar photovoltaics and solar thermal energy: scenarios of maximal, optimal and minimal development. The minimal scenario (about 3,5 mln m2 of solar collectors in 2020) is based on provisions included in Poland’s Energy Policy (Polityka Energetyczna Polski) by 2030. Maximal scenario (with the installed surface of nearly 20 mln m2 in 2020) is close to expectations of Panel 20x2020. The “middle” scenario (with a target of 14,7 mln m2 in 2020) is the development path that is assumed by Ministry of Economy. Concluding, Mr Tomaszewski underlined that in the Action Plan only a minor share of photovoltaics was assumed in fulfilment of the targets set in the directive 2009/28/WE. The intensive development of systems incorporating photovoltaic cells would commence only when there would be a fixed tariff (so called feed-in-tariff) introduced for this technology. At the same time, heat produced in solar collectors (so called solar thermal energy) would have a significant contribution to realization of the goals of the aforementioned directive, however its development would be constrained by continuation of existing and introducing of additional support instruments.

After Mr Tomaszewski’s presentation there was a discussion among Professor Maciej Nowicki, Mr Arkadiusz Lewicki – Advisor to the Chairmen of Polish Bank Association (ZBP) and Mr Sebastian Paszek – owner of WATT.

Professor Maciej Nowicki, former Minister of the Environment, stressed that 2010-2020 is the transitional period for RES and solar energy. Within the framework of the EU climate package and the new directive on promotion of RES the specific instruments of support should be prepared, tailored to the needs and with respect to inevitable systematic growth of the prices of energy from fossil fuels as a result of fulfilment of the ETS directive by Poland. In case of solar energy and its already developed industry one should open also for foreign markets, also these of developing countries to which 20 mln USD was directed by developed countries, including the EU, for promotion and transfer of green technology as a postulates after the conference of participants of Climate Convention (COP-15) in Copenhagen. In Poland Ministry of the Environment initiated a national programme Accelerator of Green Technologies called also by name Greenevo, that is aimed for promotion of national technologies abroad.

Mr Arkadiusz Lewicki, Adviser to the Chairmen of Polish Bank Association (ZBP), underlined that the energy sector declares substantial investment needs in the scope of application of climate policy that amount to 300 mld Euro by 2030. Polish bank sector assets are not sufficient for this purpose. The lending will increase in 2010 compared to 2009 possibly to about 60 mld PLN (in 2008 there were above 160 mld PLN of loans). After the decrease in lending the bank sector will however rebuild its investment portfolio and will search for good projects. There are talks among the biggest commercial banks and representatives of energy industry on activation of financing in big investment projects. A different situation might be observed in case of dispersed investment projects that apply to dispersed  energy, of a small scale, including solar energy sector and innovative projects. In these areas the cooperation between banks and public funds is developing in case of eco-innovation, eg. technological loans and thermal modernization fund introduced by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and the EU funds (PO IŚ, RPO, CIP) or ecological activities co-financed by National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management. Particularly active response came from cooperative banks. Commercial banks perceive current year as a transitional and rather a pilot one awaiting also increase of the scale effect that is adequate to outlays required for potential market entry. There is a need for increased awareness and information of the consumers and producers. He also appealed to organizations and business institutions in this sector for support to ZBP/banks in removing of various barriers in access to credit. Among others he referred to expelling of banks and bank instruments in government plans aimed for development of the RES. There is neither strategic nor executive document on RES supportive instruments, in which the banks and their instruments are taken into account and no one suggested how to encourage the banks to involve in this investment field, etc.

Mr Sebastian Paszek, owner of Watt company, that took up the risk of construction of one of the biggest solar collectors plants in Europe said that Polish companies with Polish ownership have been doing very well without public financial support for years. They are innovative, they introduce their own technologies and improve quality. The potential of Polish producers should be noticed by policy and decision makers – from the highest state authorities to local governments. „On one hand, we have to struggle with huge administrative problems every day as if we were acting for social harm” – said President Paszek. We are awaiting the change in attitude and more openness, because our efforts are supportive for national market and bring real benefits. Polish producers of solar collectors improve the image of regions (f.e.  leading companies from Śląsk might be a showcase of a „clean” region). Our brands slowly and arduously but more and more effectively overcome the stereotypes about products from Poland. „On the other hand, in daily activities and planning we must consider competition from transnational corporations in the domestic market, situation in international markets and stability and effectiveness of the support system” – he added. Western producers have been developing their brands f.e. making use of subsidies for solar energy sector that had been existing for years in Western Europe countries. These companies have such a power that is not available for Polish firms, and usually world-wide known brands and large financial background. President Paszek stated, that so far developed support instruments for producers of solar collectors in Poland are still insufficient and too bureaucratic. Acquisition and accounting of a substantial investment subsidy take a lot of time and even for a medium-sized company is a real challenge that simply prevents the company from normal functioning. The best practice of funding for installations of solar collectors with the county and municipal environmental protection funds, which have provided support by settlement of an invoices for the purchase and installation of solar water heating systems, is not used. Today biomass, wind, heat pumps, etc. are in fashion but what about the collectors? The studies have shown that they are the least costly, very effective and safe devices that make use of clean energy. Solar thermal energy is one of the cheapest “green” technologies. “The problem of the sector is also a common fight for customer confidence in solar energy products, in particular the operational efficiency of solar energy installations” – he concluded.

Third Session of the Forum concerned the issues of training and certification of solar collectors installers in the context of the requirements of the directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources.

The first presentation that introduced the issue of training and certification of installers gave Mr Michal Kwasiborski from the Institute for Renewable Energy (IEO).  According to the directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of renewable energy sources, each member country is obliged to implement a national system of training and certification by the end of 2012, and the process of certification should be clearly defined. Training should consist of theoretical and practical parts, and each training course should be completed with an examination and the issuance of appropriate certification. The validity period of the certificate should be limited so that it was necessary to attend a booster training session for its extension.

Another presentation introduced Ms Gundula Tschernigg from Austrian Institute of Technology who presented Austrian experience in vocational training, which are carried out not just for installers of solar systems, but also for installers of heat pumps and PV systems. Training consists of theoretical part - 56 hours and a practical one - 8 hours, ending with both the written examination of theoretical and practical parts and oral exam. On this basis, the certificate is issued which is valid for three years. The training costs about 1500 Euro, but it is possible to obtain funding from the federal and regional funds. The training received a certificate confirming its compliance with the requirements of the directive 2009/28/EC.

Mr Roland Krause, president of Viessmann, introduced forms of education for professionals from heating sector within the long-term training program known as "Viessmann Academy" (Akademia Viesmann).  Viessmann company has five training centers in Poland, where regularly trains about 6,000 people annually, 54% of trainings takes place outside the centers of the Academy. Among six training groups in  2010, one of the courses is limited only to small solar installations. In addition to the standard training, there are also extra training organized, including practical training on existing facilities - such as installations of solar collectors on the roof, there are also training tours to Germany. Some of the basic trainings are jointly funded by the national and EU programs. The completion of training ends with receiving appropriate certificates. Lifelong learning for installers of a wide scope  is offered by the College of Modern Heating Technologies (Szkoła Policealna Nowoczesnych Technik Grzewczych) with a program of training approved by the Ministry of National Education (MEN).

Mr Włodzimierz Pomierny, expert from the Mazovian Energy Agency (MAE), presented the first experience of a pilot series of MAE one-day trainings on solar collectors dedicated to the installers and agricultural tourism industry. The trainings were carried out under the statutory tasks of the MAE. In addition, the courses are planned for installers of solar thermal collectors, workshops related to the seminar for producers and suppliers of various RES technologies, combined with exhibition and the possibility of establishing contacts with end users, organization of four workshops for each target group: the sector of agricultural/ ecologic tourism, hotels, sports/leisure facilities and SMEs as well as training - courses designed to increase RES awareness for municipal energy managers.

Mr Tomasz Malowany, chief of Polish Corporation of Sanitary, Heating, Gas and Airconditioning Technology (Polska Korporacja Techniki Sanitarnej, Grzewczej, Gazowej i Klimatyzacji), presented a summary of the pilot course SIRET. The course took place in autumn 2009 and lasted over 100 hours in total. The participants were introduced to problems of renewable energy in biomass, solar thermal, photovoltaics, heat pumps and cogeneration within fundamental and structural components. Courses of the same extent and with the same program were also undertaken simultaneously in Germany in Berlin and Hamburg, and in Bulgaria in Plovdiv. In the Polish course there was 24 participants: fitters, technicians, engineers from installation sector. After the (five) basic modules the students were taking a written exam and on completion of the structural modules (specializations) written and oral exams. Most people were interested in specialization in the field of solar thermal energy.

The fourth part of the Forum concerned the financing of solar investments, the Forum participants waited with interest for the presentation of Mr Michał Piskorz, an expert of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW) concerning the activities of the NFOŚiGW in RES investment financing, in particular – a scheme for the partial repayment of loans for the purchase and installation of solar collectors. Within the program there will be a total of over 200 thousand m2 of solar installations installed by the end of 2014. The subsidy for the loan will equal to 45% but not more than 2.5 thousand PLN/m2. Just a few the days before the Forum six banks reported their access to this program, there will be agreements signed with them under which they will provide loans with a subsidy from the NFOŚiGW funds. These aforementioned banks are: Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości, Gospodarczy Bank Wielkopolski, Mazowiecki Bank Regionalny, Krakowski Bank Spółdzielczy, Spółdzielczy Bank Ogrodniczy, Bank Ochrony Środowiska. NFOŚiGW requires that contracts with these banks will be signed by the end of June. After that date, the banks will be able to accept applications from individual beneficiaries, as well as homeowners associations for the conclusion of credit agreements with a subsidy from the NFOŚiGW. The program budget amounts to 300 mln PLN and the allocation is divided on two periods: 2010-2012 with 200 mln PLN, and from 2013 to 2014 with amount of 100 mln PLN. A detailed description of the program is available at NFOŚiGW website.

At the end of the Forum and a session on funding for solar investment Ms Lidia Jastrzębska, director of  Mazowiecki Bank Regionalny(MBR) presented MBR’s products of this scope, i.e. technology loan, funding the purchase of solar collectors and thermo-modernisation loan. Ms Jastrzębska informed participants that the loan with the subsidy for the purchase of solar panels can be available already in June.

After the Forum there was a discussion on the possibility of the establishment of The Polish Solar Thermal Industry Federation (Stowarzyszenie Przemysłu Termicznej Energetyki Słonecznej) in Poland, similar to ESTIF. This idea met with great interest and wide response of participants of the Forum. Discussion on the draft statute raised the awareness of all participants regarding the need to integrate the whole industry, the need for interaction of people and companies and creation of a broad external representation of the solar thermal energy sector and the key role of the industry in this process. This discussion will be continued.

Summary,  presentations of the speakers and other materials from the III Forum, including the Standpoint of participants on solar thermal energy in National Renewable Energy Action Plan are available on the IEO webpage

Last Updated on Friday, 18 June 2010 10:28


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