ETIP Photovoltaics

Objective 1

Energy system integration

The integration of the energy system that can form the basis of the targeted energy transition will be built on the interdependency of all the energy vectors that can seamlessly contribute to the in- terconnected grid for optimal use of the available sustainable resources. It will allow the effective integration of the variable, non-programmable RES, which will be the predominant energy sources after 2030. PV is a vital contributor in this energy mix with the added advantage that it can be sited everywhere, most importantly on buildings and developed areas where the actual load is, therefore directly contributing to the optimal use of resources. Key factors for the success of this transition are embedded in the smartness of enabling technologies through the digitization of all constituents with distributed control responding where needed to make the paradigm change of load following generation instead of generation following load a reality.

The document “A clean Planet for all” (80) strengthens the view that the most important single driver for the transition to a de-carbonized energy system is the growing role of electricity, both in the supply of alternative fuels and in the final uses. This will imply, however, a paradigm shift to en- ergy resources that are sustainable by nature but largely meteorologically driven. Hence, energy system integration grows in importance requiring the services of technologies such as storage as a key enabler, both at a central level and distributed for flexible consumers. Flexibility at all levels is of growing importance transforming demand into a key enabler for optimal use of resources bringing the end users into prime providers of flexibility. Spatial planning and the necessary citizen and local authorities’ engagement makes the PV resource vital and necessary for meeting the energy needs of tomorrow exploiting to the full the low-cost solutions that PV systems provide.

More than 714 GW of solar PV power plants have already been installed worldwide [REF: IRENA latest report], making solar PV the number two renewable electricity source and catching up Wind power plants as current number one. A substantial portion of the PV installations in Europe until now are related to the randomness of feed-in tariffs es- tablished by local governments in the first wave, while the second wave of deployment is driven by the net-metering and self-consumption. As priority dispatch for new PV in- stallations is expected to prevail in all EU countries, in the near future (it is already a market obligation in countries of the south such as Cyprus and Greece) the spread of PV systems including integration in buildings could represent a new stable driving force for the diffusion of PV systems. The trend suggests a capillary widespread of RES mainly through small to medium PV plants right in the residential sector capable of providing the energy resource for energy communities to flourish.

PV is growing strong in independent applications at all lev- els and complexities: on roofs or façades of buildings for domestic and commercial use, for commercial systems of various sizes up to utility size connected to the transmis- sion system providing non-dispatchable energy to the sys- tem managed by the operators of the integrated grid. All these solutions are being operated as energy sources and complimented with enabling technologies such as storage where required by local rules or tariffs to make them dis- patchable and grid supportive as required. However, in the years ahead PV systems should be looked at as active con- tributors of the integrated grid utilizing dependable fore- casting tools that are openly available as a cloud service or otherwise for wider use (both serving day ahead optimal planning but also during intraday dispatch needs based on a two hour ahead rolling to facilitate optimal resource use) for improving the reliability of the complete system. For this reason, in this SRIA the R&I needs for developing the integration solutions of PV systems under the following op- erational regimes are detailed to be addressed in the forth- coming calls of Horizon Europe and other complimentary financial instruments both European and national:

  • More intelligence in distributed control
  • Hybrid systems including demand flexibility (PV+ Wind + Hydro with embedded storage + batteries + green hydrogen/fuel cells + solar fuels/gas turbines & demand management)
  • Aggregated energy and Virtual Power Plants
  • Improved efficiencies by integration of PV-systems in DC-networks