ETIP Photovoltaics

Roadmap 1

More intelligence in distributed control

Rationale for Support

The penetration of RES in the energy mix of Europe is growing fast and its intermittent nature calls for smart solutions utilising supportive enabling technologies that can safeguard the quality, reliability and resilience of the interconnected grid that is emerging. This is a growing need due to the transformation that is taking place on the distribution grid, going more active and moving away from the past unidirectional flow of energy from generating sta- tions to load centres far away.

The rollout of intelligence on the distribution network gen- erates the required data for building distributed control in support of the wider system. This is a much more respon- sive to the needs of the interconnected grid and avoids de- lays in taking corrective action, making the system more reliable and resilient.


Currently the intelligence provided on the distribution sys- tem is limited to the following services:

  • Forecasting tools for providing an estimate of the anticipated energy the following day but not ade- quate for long term planning or operational de- pendence for the day reserves of the system.
  • Smart inverters providing voltage support and qual- ity of supply at point of common coupling of the RES systems meeting the connection and opera- tional requirements of the operators.

Targets, Type of Activity and TRL

This roadmap aims to add intelligence to the PV systems to be responsive to system needs through the following targets:

Develop advance accurate forecasting of PV pro- duction at different spatial and time resolutions de- pending on targeted market (day ahead, intraday or actual day dispatch) by means of intelligent physical modelling and data analysis capable of supporting the intraday, day ahead and long-term planning and operation of systems as an enabling functionality for optimal control in the constantly growing RES sustained energy system.
Add hardware / software intelligence to PV for mak- ing it ready for smart integration into the energy system of the future, e.g., PV inverters of different size (small/string/large) with added sensors cap- turing VAR and Watt quantities, voltage magnitude and quality at their point of common coupling or advance features of inverters including the capa- bilities of grid forming inverters capable of active- ly contributing to the needs of the integrated grid, responding to the growing family of IoT for energy management in an active distributed system includ- ing energy communities. This added intelligence and controllability will enable the completed PV system to offer grid support in managing quality of supply including voltage control, flickering, fre- quency fluctuation, contribute to virtual inertia/ synthetic inertia etc.

Planned activities for developing the required in- telligence in complete PV systems with peripheral equipment are the following:

  • Action 1: Technical and software development for improving PV system forecasting capabilities in combination with storage moving TRL from 6 to 8 by 2025.
  • Action 2: Technical development of inverter in- telligence for providing frequency control mov- ing TRL from 6 to 8 by 2025
  • Action 3: Technical development of inverter ca- pabilities for providing the grid forming capabili- ties moving TRL from 5 to 8 by 2027.


Possible KPIs that can be utilised for capturing progress in the above identified R&I fields are:

KPITarget Value
Forecasting tools for PV systems to be widely
available as an open access through cloud or oth-
erwise, a service that can be accessible by all

By 2025: day ahead accuracy of 95 % for
95 % of the cases.

Forecasting tools for PV systems to be widely
available as an open access through cloud or
otherwise, a service with storage of 8 % of energy
generated within the planned day

By 2025: day ahead accuracy of 99 % for
99 % of the cases.

Smart inverters to be supportive to system fre-
quency control
By 2027: at least 5 % of the generated en-
ergy and 50 % of ground-based PV plant
inverters to be equipped with grid forming
Grid forming capabilities of smart inverters to be
By 2030: at least 90 % to facilitate build-
ing energy management systems for im-
proved security of supply to all connected