Solar PV is already the cheapest form of electricity generation in many countries and markets. Even so, PV systems must become ever cheaper, until finally new PV + energy storage undercuts existing fossil fuel operating costs. Hence, there is still a strong drive for solar PV cost reductions, as the time for reaching the Paris Agreement is running out. Implementing Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) in large scale impacts the integrity, reliability, security and stability of the power grid, and measures must be taken to ensure grid stability and utility-friendly integration of PV generation at high penetration levels. A third crucial factor must also be accounted for; a better understanding of the specific socio-economic contexts in which the energy transition towards higher penetration of VRE takes place. A narrow focus on LCOE and reduced CO2 emissions will not suffice currently exemplified by the sudden and huge resistance in the public to land-based wind power in pristine mountain areas in Norway. This project aims to deliver forcefully on all three challenges identified above, with a consortium consisting of key European actors both from the demand side such as E.ON, Germany’s largest grid operator and the supply side such as Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer of renewable electric power and a strong suite of companies completing the supply chain from solar module manufacturing SoliTek, one of Europe’s few remaining solar module manufacturers to developers and operators of solar PV plants; Ayesa, Masen, Mascir and Ocean Sun, assisted by specialist SME’s Protech & BNW Energy, and supported by leading European research organisations SINTEF, IREC, RWTH Aachen and ISC Konstanz. The project consists of 9 industry-driven work packages: 1 Coordination 2 Specifications 3 Components 4 PV plant operation monitoring and integrated data analytics 5 Utility-friendly PV integration 6 Business models 7 Demonstration 8 Socio-economic evaluation 9 Dissemination.
Project leader: Torstein Haarberg