Solar energy (PV, Photovoltaics) will be a major source of electricity in the future. In many places, solar energy has already reached grid parity; the cost of producing electricity with solar cells is equal to the price of buying electricity from the grid. Strong growth in the past years has proven the vast potential of solar technologies and made solar a mainstream technology competing with nuclear, gas and coal. However, there are limits to deploying solar power using current technology and models. Oversupply of electricity in the grid during times of peak production and weak demand are already visible and limiting further installation of PV power plants. One of the major problems with renewable sources such as solar and wind are their intermittent characteristics. As the share of renewables increase, they can no longer be balanced by for example hydroelectric or gas fired power plants. This in turns causes voltage and frequency instabilities, large price volatility and even power outages.
The intermittent generation from PV compared with the stable output from conventional power plants such as nuclear or coal fired. The intermittent production causes problems such as voltage and frequency instability, large price volatility, power outages etc. The Smart Grid is about transforming the intermittent generation into a stable power system. Energy storage will be a key component in the Smart Grid.
To enable wider penetration of solar energy, the intermittent generation must be balanced by energy storage and flexible demand. Also, further cost reductions and new business models are required to improve the business case particularly in regions where the electricity price is low or solar radiation is limited.
Both grid stability and cost reductions can be achieved with local energy storage in combination with PV systems. Local energy storage brings several benefits to consumers such as increased self-consumption of PV electricity, possibility to buy off-peak electricity, reduced grid fees and back-up power. In addition, distributed energy storage can be used by grid companies to reduce production and consumption peaks, provide frequency support, reduce distribution losses, and by balance responsible parties to reduce balancing costs due to forecast errors.
Ferroamps EnergyHub merges the benefits for consumers and grid companies in a solution where solar cells and energy storage is combined into a single unit.