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Trends and Benefits of Photovoltaic Energy

Power Distribution and Digital

Join experts & peers to learn, share and engage about the key trends of electrical distribution around safety, availability, efficiency and connectivity, as well as power standards & regulations. From design to implementation and operation, let’s discuss how digital and software are transforming your business and your day-to-day work.

J_Travostino
Admiral Admiral
Admiral

Trends and Benefits of Photovoltaic Energy

 

Photovoltaic is growing fast worldwide….

 

In a world where we have no choice than switching to decarbonized and renewable energy, one of the most available sources of renewable energy is our sun.

But how to produce electricity from this limitless energy?

Obviously, the photovoltaic (PV) technology is the answer.

 

PV energy is fully part of the solution to fight the climate change and pass the challenge of global warming. It is one of the most promising technologies for a more sustainable development.

 

Moreover, photovoltaic electricity production reveals several benefits:

  1. solar energy is limitless and accessible all around the globe
  2. PV energy is free of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions when operating
  3. PV energy does not use water
  4. solar panels are quiet
  5. solar panels require mild maintenance

Also, this source of energy can decrease the dependency of countries for their energy supplies and leads toward a higher energy supply security and consequently a steadiness of its cost.

 

As a result, promoted by regulations, technology improvement and cost reduction, countries’ energy policies, the PV capacity has been growing very fast in the past decades.

 

As example, it has been multiplied by more than 7 in only 6 years (between 2010 and 2016).

This is a capacity increase of more than 700%!! And the trend is still accelerating…

.installed PV capacity chart.jpg

 

A decentralized electricity production….

 

We can divide the photovoltaic installations in 2 main groups that represent each almost half of the total PV capacity:

 

 

large scale PV installation.jpg

> Large scale PV installations (Solar farms)

Connected to the grid, they inject all their production in it. Due to their size, they are highly cost-effective, and their number are growing fast. These installations also bring challenges to insure grid stability.

 

 

 

residential PV installation.jpg

> Commercial and residential installations

The solar panels are installed on roofs, car parks or integrated into the buildings. The produced electricity is mainly consumed locally but can also be sold back to the grid. This model is rising faster due to its economical interest for the prosumers.

 

 

 

 

Monitoring and control maximize photovoltaic benefits

 

However, to go further, a monitoring & control system would be necessary to ensure optimal operation.

Eventhough this seems obvious for large scale PV installations, it becomes more and more essential for decentralized PV installations.

 

It will allow the user to understand the PV energy production and its usage and to be warned to take decisions and actions.

Thanks to an appropriate monitoring and control system, to better understand how the produced electrical energy is used and how to leverage it, owners can track how the produced energy is stored, re-injected to the grid or consume on-site as example.

In addition, it is recommended to monitor power quality disturbances (harmonics and unbalance) as PV inverters can have a negative effect on power quality. A monitoring and control system allows it.

 

Monitoring system.JPG

 

Data digitization and cloud-based analytics help the user to optimize its electrical PV production usage and so bring a better economical efficiency.

It considers criteria as: changing electricity tariffs, weather forecasts, and expected consumption to adapt the balance between internal use of the electricity and the part that is sold to the grid.

 

 

 

 

 

To conclude, PV electricity production, whether in large installations or at a lower scale, is the most promising renewable energy as it is economically suitable and manageable when coupled with an adapted monitoring system.

 

Discover more on our dedicated website 👇

 

solar business website.JPG

 

 

 

But also do not hesitate to enter the discussion regaring this topic in our Power Distribution & Digital forum 👇

 

Power Distribution & Digital forumPower Distribution & Digital forum

 

 

 

 

Julien Travostino
Power Distribution & Digital forum community owner
Power Products Div.