PV2025 - Potential Costs and Benefits of Photovoltaics for UK-Infrastructure and Society

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng

Abstract

The installation of photovoltaics today is largely evaluated in terms of quantity and the success of any market stimulation evaluated on the basis of how well the targets are met. This may cause significant problems for the national infrastructure and may lead to significant unnecessary costs for grid stabilisation. However, these factors are sometimes assessed too simplistically. When considering PV in a national context, it is also largely seen as a homogenous swarm of devices, i.e. all of them reacting rather similarly. This does not consider different orientations (system elevation determines the seasonal maximum, system orientation determines the daily maximum) or regional differences in the environmental conditions such as weather fronts passing in a matter of days over the country rather than instantaneously or the North experiencing a different weather front than the South; nationwide smoothing might very well limit the need for power control. Thus the overarching question in this proposal is 'How can we maximise the benefits and limit the costs for UK plc while having a vibrant PV market?'. The work is split into four topical areas (work-packages), which answer the four key questions:
- How much PV are we likely to get with different policies and where is it likely to be installed? This will consider different socio-economic drivers, cost curves of PV and work on installation scenarios giving links to likely social background of installations, locations (as in regions) and quantities.
- How much energy will this generate when and where? Based on current installations a model for the performance prediction of systems based on their post-code will be developed and validated against existing FIT data and other available monitoring data. A spin-off of this activity will be the widespread investigation of current installations, that will inform any further discussions on subsidy streams, and the potential for detailed condition monitoring with sparse data will be investigated. The model will be connected with the socio-economic drivers to stochastically locate future installations (using GIS and post-code classifiers), and estimate the energy yield for each system and aggregate to generation regions. This means that essentially for every system (which is today in the range of 400000 systems under the FIT) installed an hourly generation needs to be calculated, which will require very complex speed optimisation in the calculations.
- How will it impact the infrastructure? Grid simulations will be carried out bottom up as well as top down to see if there are issues either locally or nationally with the proposed installations. This will allow the recommendation of further measures to strengthen infrastructure and will allow a cost-benefit analysis of PV technology to be undertaken.
- What feedback will there be? Most policies will have effects on the questions above and thus it is foreseen that a feedback methodology will be created, calculating the costs/benefits for UK plc as well as evaluating likely responses of the policy makers and grid operators.
The collaboration between the different groups will be tightly managed, so that the project outcomes interface well. Tools will be generated and made available with non-proprietary data for public use.

Planned Impact

The impact of generating understanding is notoriously difficult to quantify. This project will help in avoiding problems and to accelerate implementation of PV in the UK in a way that is in the best interest of UK plc. A major effect could be on optimised regulation and energy maximisation.
To demonstrate the impact this may have one could consider a situation as in Germany where systems are now only allowed to deliver 70% of their rated power, i.e. they can deliver all the power they are capable to deliver up to 70% of the rating and must be regulated down beyond this point. This will cost annually 15-20% of energy production. In the UK this would waste around 320M£ per year (assuming systems yield of 800kWh/kWp, average FIT/ROC around 0.2£/kWh and current installed capacity of 2GWp). Should this project allow avoiding such a situation, there would be an enormous financial benefit for UK plc. This is just one example illustrating that interfacing effects add up very quickly to significant costs, much larger and much more nationally relevant effects then e.g. changes in production technologies. This is a national issue as countries have different power systems. Identified issues with high penetration may thus not be relevant to the UK in that form. Thus developing a high-resolution generation model will very significant impact in terms of avoided costs in the medium term.
Benefits such as fuel-poverty-alleviation or strengthening of weak grids or injection of reactive power are not currently quantified or realised to their best potential. This project will deliver the tools to do so and thus allow a much more holistic approach in assessing the market penetration of PV technologies. It will allow the quantification of the benefits in much more detail than before. The combination of this engineering based work will enable a much more science-based discussion of different installation scenarios and will identify the need for investment into the infrastructure. Thisould then minimise the risks of 'brown outs' as seen in the US where not enough power is generated, or negative costs of electricity as seen in Germany, where at certain times (admittedly rarely so far) the cost has been negative in the electricity exchange and people were actually been paid to consume power. The costs of these grid 'mishaps' are very difficult to quantify, but if the project could just help to avoid a single such incidence, the cost savings would be orders of magnitude larger than the funding requested.
The project will not only answer engineering questions, it will also provide answers for the questions of 'how do we get there?' and 'what if we try to use this feedback?'. These questions will be essential for policy makers and decision makers in the various companies involved with the grid management. The impact here will be in better informed policies, which should enable an accelerated and hopefully appropriately financed deployment of PV to achieve the maximum benefit for UK plc. It is difficult to quantify this effect but again the impact should be rather significant.
There will be also impact in terms of new commercial services for the supporting companies. EOn will benefit from better understanding the pricing strategies of PV and operation of their PV systems. As a retailer of solar systems, they could also offer performance monitoring as part of their FIT package, which should make them a more attractive FIT provider and thus increase their business. Bluesky will consider offering further services based on the GIS work of this project as this would present a natural extension of their current 'find a roof' service. Housing assosciations will benefit in being able to argue the case for PV in a social fashion.
 
Description The project delivered through a distributed modelling approach the following findings:
- the grid capacity for photovoltaics may be higher than currently expected
- the system orientation is key for fleet modelling as it changes the time of electricity injection
- weather fronts result is much slower ramp rates than originally expected
- quantification of benefits of storage
- control issues associated with faults for networks
Exploitation Route see impact section
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Impact to date has been 2 conferences disseminating to practitioners in the field. PV2025 has been able to demonstrate the geospatial impact PV has on the overall grid and has generated datasets being used by DECC for assessing the impact PV will have on a national scale. The fleet performance model as well as geospatially dis-aggregated performance of PV-systems allow better assessment of how demand is met throughout the country. Better assessment of potential grid issues can be carried out. Assessment is not only carried out on technical level, but also on socio economic levels allowing partners to look beyond money but also issues such as fuel poverty in deprived areas.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Contribution to the London Assembly's call for evidence on solar. Following a request from the London Assembly we provided expert evidence on PV deployment in the capital. This helped the Assembly to build a better understanding of why PV deployment in London was lower than other parts of the UK and our analysis was presented in the final report (Page 10): "Bring me sunshine! How London's homes could generate more solar energy", GLA, October 2015.
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/london-assembly/london-assembly-publications/bring-me-sunshine-ho...
 
Description Submission to DECC Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, October 2015
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/302049/uk_solar_pv_strateg...
 
Description Creating performance maps for DECC
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description Joint UK India Clean Energy Center (JUICE)
Amount £5,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003605/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description Network Innovation allowance
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Organisation UK Power Networks 
Sector Private
Country Unknown
Start 10/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description PV Dudes
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Organisation Loughborough University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description UK India Smart Grid and Storage
Amount £980,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K036173/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2014 
End 01/2017
 
Description Bluesky collaboration 
Organisation Bluesky International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Quality site assessments for PV installations
Collaborator Contribution specification of user needs, developing commercial services
Impact identification of site issues (shading)
Start Year 2013
 
Description DECC Collaboration (now become BEIS) 
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Impact of UK PV installations on national infrastructure, provision of datasets
Collaborator Contribution advice and insight on current PV market and technological conditions
Impact understanding socio-economic impact of PV installations
Start Year 2013
 
Description EON Collaboration 
Organisation E ON
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution local impact and quality assurance of PV systems and socio-economic impact of PV installations.
Collaborator Contribution advice and insight on current PV market and technological conditions, performance data, energy profiles.
Impact PV system reliability, research findings on socio-economic impact.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Elexon collaboration 
Organisation Elexon
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Modelling storage and PV impact on demand profiles
Collaborator Contribution advice and insight on demand profiling
Impact understanding of changes in demand profile due to PV installations.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Nationalgrid collaboration 
Organisation The National Grid Co plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution technological impact of PV installations on a national scale
Collaborator Contribution advice and insight on current PV market and technological conditions, user needs
Impact understanding impact of PV installations
Start Year 2013
 
Description Nottingham City Homes PV performance modelling 
Organisation Nottingham City Homes
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Quality assurance of fielded systems and socio-economic impact of PV installations on council tennants
Collaborator Contribution project supervision, performance data of PV plants, energy profiles of buildings and building stock
Impact identification of underperforming systems
Start Year 2014
 
Description OFGEM collaboration 
Organisation Ofgem Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution technological and socio-economic impact of PV installations on a national scale
Collaborator Contribution project supervision, secondment opportunity for a project researcher.
Impact understanding technical and socio-economic impact of PV installations
Start Year 2013
 
Description "Mapping and predicting potential grid issues caused by PV", in 2nd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS) September 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A presentation given by PV2025 researchers G.Mokryani, B.Pal "Mapping and predicting potential grid issues caused by PV", in 2nd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS), (29 September 2014), Loughborough University, Loughborough ,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.egpvs.org.uk
 
Description "PV installations and energy generation -does PV really pose a problem for the UK grid?" in 3rd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS) March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A presentation given by PV2025 researchers Elena Koubli and Diane Palmer entitled "PV installations and energy generation -does PV really pose a problem for the UK grid?" in 3rd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS), (21st March 2016), Loughborough University, Loughborough.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.egpvs.org.uk
 
Description "Predicting and Mapping UK Performance Variation" in 2nd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS) September 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A presentation is given by PV2025 researchers D.Palmer, E.Koubli entitled "Predicting and Mapping UK Performance Variation" , in 2nd Workshop of Energy Generation of PV Systems (EGPVS), (29 September 2014), Loughborough University, Loughborough ,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.egpvs.org.uk
 
Description 3rd Workshop Energy Generation of PV Systems EGPVS - 21st March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The workshop is running for three consecutive years and aims to summarise the due diligence currently being carried out and to evaluate future requirements. It is aimed at the entire value chain from planner, installer, owner, operator, EPC and financial institutions to demonstrate potential performance risks. It gives an indication of items to be included into due diligence studies but which are currently neglected. The workshop is aimed at anybody interested in the performance of PV systems. International experts will present the state of the art in this field on a full day of lectures and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.egpvs.org.uk
 
Description Ankur Majumdar, 2016, Impact of large scale PV production on active distribution network-focus on uncertainties, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Ankur Majumdar gave a presentation entitled "Impact of large scale PV production on active distribution network-focus on uncertainties", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Chiara Candelise, 2016, PV deployment and grid integration scenarios: the UKPVD framework and its use, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Chiara Candelise gave a presentation entitled "PV deployment and grid integration scenarios: the UKPVD framework and its use" in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Diane Palmer, 2016, A Profile of solar power generation in the UK, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Diane Palmer gave a presentation entitled "A Profile of solar power generation in the UK", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Elena Koumpli, 2016, Investigating two thousand PV rooftops: from data quality to performance assessment and fault detection, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Elena Koumpli gave a presentation entitled "Investigating two thousand PV rooftops: from data quality to performance assessment and fault detection", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Energy Generation of PV Systems - Performance Risks and Due Diligence EGPVS 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Similar to last year this event organised by CREST was well received and a good feedback was given.The workshop is aimed at anybody interested in the performance of PV systems. International experts will present the state of the art in this field on a full day of lectures and discussion.

This event now is becoming a recurring event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.egpvs.org.uk
 
Description Ian Cole and Diane Palmer, 2016, Roof Space for PV, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researchers Ian Cole and Diane Palmer gave a presentation entitled "Roof Space for PV", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Ian Cole, 2016, Automated identification of optimal domestic PV installation inclusive of localised shading, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Ian Cole gave a presentation entitled "Automated identification of optimal domestic PV installation inclusive of localised shading", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description PV2025 End of Project Workshop - Solar Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This workshop was an end of project dissemination workshop organised by the PV2025 project. It aimed at stakeholders involved in deploying photovoltaics. The workshop presented results from world leading scientists achieved in the research project 'PV2025 - Potential Costs and Benefits of Photovoltaics for UK-Infrastructure and Society'. The workshop was of interest to infrastructure operators; system developers, owners and operators, EPCs as well as policy makers and local councils. It was held in London on 30th November 2016. There was around 40 attendants from industry, academia and policy makers. After the event a feedback survey was conducted and this revealed a very positive feedback received from the participants. 100% of the participants thought the workshop was 'very well organised' and the work presented was 'relevant to their work'. 80% thought 'there was an application potential of the work presented'. Contacts have been made for future collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk
 
Description Philip Leicester, 2016, Household benefits of PV: self-consumption, fuel affordability and payback, PV2025 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PV2025 researcher Philip Leicester gave a presentation entitled "Household benefits of PV: self-consumption, fuel affordability and payback", in PV2025 end-of-project workshop Solar - Photovoltaics in the UK: Impacts, Benefits and Risks, 30th November 2016, London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.pv2025.org.uk