EU PVSEC 2014,
The premier solar photovoltaic industry conference was in Amsterdam this year and Energy Canvas was there to experience its technical and policy focus. It’s fascinating to listen to industry leaders from across the board state their position on the current state of the art and industry. There was a clear focus on the ramifications of high levels of solar on the grid and that any incentive that is applied in the future needs to be progressive in nature. There is a substantial focus on energy storage but even the broadness of this focus just shows how far away people are from having effective thought leadership.
One of the key issues though is that conferences like these are filled with people finding % increases in solar performance at the cell and module level, increasingly though what is needed is more focus on a systems approach, understanding how the projects generate power on the grid from a grid operators point of view and how that differs from a more traditional asset such as as gas turbine or even a wind turbine. This is important because people acknowledge the theoretical aspects of variability but don’t focus on the practical aspects till the pain of not doing so is sufficient enough to demand focus. The pain though is starting to be felt due to the high levels of solar penetration in areas such as the south of Germany where voltage level spiking on the distribution network is potentially more than the areas energy consumption.
These systems issues are things that wind and solar will have to develop solutions to if they are to become more reliable. Systems though need to be designed to be more than just technical solutions to the local condition but also be a financially astute market product. There are many companies that are starting to focus on providing part of the solution, Energy Canvas is exploring these options.
Expect to see more on this over the coming months.