European Technology & Innovation Platform PhotoVoltaics

Digital Solar PV Systems and Grid WG

Digitalisation is essential to enabling the massive deployment of photovoltaics in the energy system. Indeed, the decentralised nature of PV creates opportunities, for example by enabling individuals to become active contributors to the transition. It also creates significant challenges for the design and operation of the power system. To keep operation and transaction costs in checks, novel, PV-specific methods need to be more scalable, robust, and automatically replicable than what has been used for more centralised generators.

The "Digital PV systems and grid" working group focuses on these challenges. It addresses in particular:

  1. Design: optimal design, web services, application of artificial intelligence including image processing
  2. Operations: predictive maintenance, application of IoT for operations and maintenance, cost/benefit analysis on data-driven solutions, machine learning
  3. Control: optimal interaction with other energy system components such as battery storage systems, machine learning for forecasting, application of artificial intelligence to supervisory and distributed control
  4. Market: reduction of transaction costs in consumer-centric markets, local energy communities, trust and traceability (e.g., with blockchain)
  5. Special role of the inverter as data collection hub, control interface with high computing power and low inertia

The objective of the working group work is to define use cases and research needs. Its work combines inputs from practitioners with assessments of the state of the art (scientific literature, patent landscaping, gap analysis) to define roadmaps and propose research themes. The group provides networking opportunities among technical and market experts. It complements existing groups such as SolarPower Europe's digitalisation working group (whose focus is more on regulation) and ETIP SNET's working group 4 (whose scope is much broader and takes a technology-agnostic view to generation).



Pierre-Jean Alet, CSEM



Venizelos Efthymiou, FOSS


WG Members:

Giovanna Adinolfi, ENEA C.R. Portici
Vipluv Aga, General Electric Renewable Energy
Grazia    Barchi, EURAC
Girolamo Di Francia, ENEA
Rafael Fritz, Fraunhofer IEE
George E. Georghiou, University of Cyprus
Giorgio Graditi, ENEA C.R. Portici
Norbert Henze, Fraunhofer IWES
Marco Jung, Fraunhofer IEE
Christoph Mayr, AIT
David Moser, EURAC
Daniel Mugnier, TECSOL
Franko Nemac, ApE
Holger Schneidewindt, Energierecht
Andreas Stavrou, FOSS
Marc Stefan, AIT
I. Thomas Strasser, AIT
Ioannis A. Tsanakas, CEA LITEN
Eszter Voroshazi, IMEC
Wilfried G.J.H.M. Van Sark, Utrecht University
Guangya Yang, DTU

Working Group publications:

Assessing the need for better forecasting and observability of PV

In its review of the challenges and opportunities associated with massive deployment of solar PV generation, the Grid integration working group of the ETIP PV identified forecasting and observability as critical technologies for the planning and operation of the power system with large PV penetration. In this white paper ETIP PV set out to spell out in more details what features are needed from these technologies and what is the state of the art.


PV generation is fit for modern, active power networks - Update 2017 (August 2017)

Global PV capacity is on an exponential trend, with more new capacity being added every year than the year before. Over 2016, global installed capacity grew by 33% to reach 307 GW. In Germany, PV now represents about 21% of the power generation capacity.



With this paper we set to clarify the terms of this discussion: how is penetration of PV into power grids evaluated? What are the current levels? Which barriers may prevent increasing these levels? Which concepts have been put forward to open these barriers? Which benefits can PV systems provide for existing and new grids?