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Grid Integration

PV IN THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM

As Europe seeks to fully decarbonise its energy sector by 2050, the continent’s entire power system has to evolve to host more variable, distributed renewable sources. Given its competitiveness trajectory, PV will play a key role in the future European electricity mix, covering 15% of the electricity demand by 2030 and up to 25% if a real paradigm shift occurs

Large-scale PV integration in the European grids is technically feasible with a high level of security of supply, even under the most extreme weather and load conditions: 

  • System stability will not be challenged: The variable PV power output can be forecast with improved precision, especially if various units in a large area are aggregated. Aggregators will also play a key role in selling PV power on wholesale electricity markets as well as providing distribution system operators with ancillary services

  • On a seasonal basis, complementary PV and wind power output profiles will reduce the need for back-up capacity 

  • On a daily basis, storage and Demand Side Management (DSM) measures will allow PV to increasingly meet the evening consumption peak, considering that the midday peak is already naturally covered by PV power output profile

  • At distribution level, several cost-optimal solutions already exist today to accommodate large shares of PV electricity. While currently vastly underrated, PV can already provide significant grid support capabilities, including active power reduction, fault ride-through, and voltage support

Find out more at www.connectingthesun.eu  

THE GRID: PV OPERATING IN THE EUROPEAN ELECTRICITY MARKET

Achieving a real European single market for electricity will require developing a more interconnected electricity system. It will also be crucial to develop more consistent rules for electricity generators to connect and operate all over Europe. With a progressive harmonisation of boundary conditions, the PV industry (and in particular inverter manufacturers) will be able to reduce product variance and costs, thus allowing for a more cost-efficient penetration of renewables in the European electricity mix.

EU legislation adopted in 2009 established a series of new tools to ensure more coordination among the 27 Member States: the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) received the mandate to develop a series of network codes related to system development, market integration and system operation.

Of particular importance for PV is the “Network code requirements for grid connection applicable to all generators”, which identifies the technical rules to allow a generating unit to connect to the grid. 

Representing the whole PV value chain, EPIA plays an active role in these discussions to ensure that best practices are shared and to make PV a fully integrated part of the electricity system.


REserviceS Project - Economic Grid Support From Variable Renewables

REserviceS (Economic Grid Support From Variable Renewables) is a European project, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme, that intends to establish a reference basis and policy recommendations for future network codes and market design in the area of ancillary services from variable renewables. This will be achieved by:

  • Identifying which ancillary services wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) can provide, at what cost, and which ones are of interest for systems operators
  • Creating a European harmonised cost basis to design a market for ancillary services provided by wind and solar PV
  • Promoting  an effective EU single electricity market with cost-efficient integration of variable RES, improved grid management and increased electricity system security

A secure management of the European transmission and distribution systems will require a drastic change in strategy for the procurement of ancillary services when variable renewables will produce large shares (regionally up to 50%) of the electricity demand.

The results of the project will be synthesised into guidelines and techno-economical guidelines and recommendations for the design of a European Market for ancillary services and the drafting process of grid and market codes within the third Liberalisation Package.

The REserviceS consortium consists of leading knowledge institutes, renewable power operators, network operators and European wind and solar PV industry associations.

PV AND SMART GRIDS

The massive deployment of renewable, variable and decentralised electricity sources and of new smart household appliances will be accompanied by an evolution of power distribution and management in Europe. We need a progressive “smartening” of electricity grids, in which interactions among all stakeholders are enhanced.

PV will play a key role in the deployment of Smart Grids. PV inverters will be essential in improving the real-time communication between PV power plants and Distribution System Operators (DSOs). The deployment of Smart Grids should be supported by appropriate functionalities of smart meters. In particular, standards should be developed for smart meters so as to enable two-way communication on active/reactive power input/take-off of PV electricity and remote control power flows.

To help speed the deployment of Smart Grids, the European Commission set up a dedicated Task force at the end of 2009. This led to the adoption of a dedicated Communication on Smart Grids (COM/2011/202) in 2011 supported by a mandate for Smart Grids standards to the European Standardisation Organisation.

More recently, the Commission issued Guidelines for conducting a cost benefit analysis of Smart Grids projects.

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