Santander Bank Polska and mBank signed a contract worth PLN 350m (EUR 79m) for the financing of 128 solar power plants with a total power of 121 MWp to be built by leading Polish solar projects developer R.Power.
The transaction is the biggest funding for solar power projects provided in Poland so far. Each of the banks contributed 50% of the project financing.
All the power plants have won RES auctions and will sign 15-year contracts for difference (CFD), providing them with a guaranteed level of electricity prices. The construction phase is to be completed within the next 18 months.
Juan de Porras, deputy president of the management board and head of the Corporate and Investment Banking Division in Santander Bank Polska commented:
“This is another such a big initiative taken by Santander Bank Polska to support transformation of the Polish energy system. Last year we were the first lender in Poland to sign an ESG-linked credit agreement and today we have made the biggest transaction providing funding for PV power plants, which will contribute to the development of the Polish RES market. Prevention of the climate changes is one of the biggest challenges we face, therefore today we cannot speak of the future without taking brave and real actions which will reduce our negative impact on the environment,”
Juan de Porras added that one of the 10 global goals of Santander Group for the coming years is to facilitate mobilisation of EUR 120 billion for businesses in 2019–2025 to finance green energy projects, and EUR 220 billion in 2019–2030 for other green solutions to help tackle climate change.
Poland has supported RES projects for 5 years through its auction system. The auctions held in 2016-2019 provided support to over 2000 installations. The energy covered with the winning offers was worth over PLN 38bn in total. As a result of the auctions, almost 154 TWh of energy were sold.
Przemysław Pięta, the founder and CEO of R.POWER said:
“In terms of prices, solar energy has become competitive to the conventional sources of energy. In the coming years, photovoltaics and wind energy will be one of the driving forces of not only energy sector in Poland but also the entire post-covid economy. In R.POWER we are happy to be a part of that revolution. We hope that local regulations, like in France, Germany or Italy, will support smaller, dispersed installations, which will help Poland to build solar power companies operating globally.”
At the end of 2019, the domestic installed capacity of solar power plants was 1,3 GW to exceed 1,8 GW by the end of April 2020, that is, it grew by 181.42% over a year. The national energy and climate plan envisages that the power in PV installations will grow to ca. 16 GW by 2040. Poland, as a EU member, is obligated to increase the RES share in the energy mix and although the Polish PV market is still relatively small, it has been gradually growing.
mBank has been gradually increasing its share in RES funding. It decided to provide PLN 500m for that purpose as early as in 2018. In summer 2019, mBank decided to increase that financing limit by 100% up to PLN 1bn and in March 2020 the lender increased it again – up to the record-high PLN 2bn.
Adam Pers, the deputy president of mBank and head of the corporate banking said:
“We are aware of our role in changing the world for better. The decision to support companies from the RES sector brings us double satisfaction – we not only help entrepreneurs, but also accelerate the green transformation.”