A new European project has been launched to promote the large-scale integration of solar PV energy into electricity distribution grids.
More than 20 partners have joined together to spearhead a Europe-wide effort to identify solutions to the wider integration of solar PV in Europe, particularly at the distribution level.
Their new two-year project, entitled PV GRID, is funded by the European Commission's Intelligent Energy for Europe programme and will run until October 2014. PV GRID's aim is to contribute to overcoming regulatory and normative challenges linked to the integration of high shares of PV electricity in the distribution system across Europe.
The grid integration of PV systems was previously highlighted by the PV LEGAL consortium as one of the main barriers to the further development of PV in Europe. In recent years, a completely new situation has emerged in several European countries where distribution grids have to deal with very high shares of PV generation, leading to new technical, economical and administrative challenges.
This is an important issue for Europe's energy future. As PV becomes a mature and mainstream technology, it will need to integrate seamlessly into the electricity grid.
This will require some changes from grid operators, from policymakers and from the PV industry itself. As shown in a new report from EPIA, "Connecting the Sun: Solar photovoltaics on the road to large-scale grid integration", the challenges are not insurmountable and solutions to enable a high penetration of PV are achievable.
PV GRID follows the PV LEGAL project, which was completed in February 2012. PV LEGAL, a flagship project of the Intelligent Energy Programme, succeeded in removing many administrative burdens for PV system installations in Europe. PV GRID, created by the same project consortium, builds on the PV LEGAL cooperation to focus on removing grid-related barriers that have emerged as a result of the fast deployment of PV technology in Europe.
The PV GRID consortium also includes other stakeholders from the wider electricity distribution sector, in order to address specific issues of distribution grid operation and regulation. Coordinated by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) the consortium consists of 13 other National PV industry associations, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), three Distribution System Operators (DSOs), eclareon Management Consultants, European Distributed Energy Resources Laboratories e. V. and COMILLAS Pontifical University.
The PV GRID project is a joint effort of the following project partners:
• Coordinator: The German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar)
• European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)
• eclareon Management Consultants
• 13 national PV industry associations: UNEF, APESF, Assosolare, BPVA, CZEPHO, Enerplan, Helapco, Holland Solar, PTPV, PV Austria, EDORA, SVENSK SOLENERGI, SAPI
• DERlab (European Distributed Energy Resources Laboratories e. V.)
• Distribution System Operators: ENEL Distribuzione (Italy), RWE Deutschland AG (Germany) and Lumen International (Czech Republic)
• COMILLAS Pontifical University.