It’s only a matter of time – pv magazine International

At the end of 2021, the total capacity of solar power plants worldwide was estimated at 940 GW. According to forecasts by the solar association SolarPower Europe, the total capacity could reach 2 TW by 2025. With the growing popularity of solar power plants, experts predict that the next breakthrough in this sector will be smart batteries. In the future, solar power plants will no longer be able to operate without them.

Currently, solar power plants dominate the market, with the electricity they produce being used directly by households and excess energy diverted to the power grid. However, due to these solar power plants, the power grids are increasingly overloaded.

According to Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon, “If too much energy is fed back into the network in the middle of the day, it could cause frequency and voltage disturbances in the system which could cause transformers to protect themselves from being damaged, thus causing localized failures.

Therefore, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, among other countries, have plans in place to prevent people from transferring excess energy to the power grid. It is expected that other countries will follow. As a result, solar power plant operators are asking, and will increasingly ask, what to do with the solar electricity generated.

A smart battery is a solution that will make it possible to direct the electricity produced by a solar power plant during the day to the battery, for use in the evening. This concept makes it possible to protect the electricity network and to expand the use of solar power plants even more quickly.

Smart batteries are currently available on the market in capacities ranging from 1.2 kWh to 13.5 kWh. It is estimated that they can operate successfully for up to 10 years.

Smartphone batteries will be more widely adapted

After years of testing, Inion Software has developed different battery management algorithms for a team of scientists, which enable wider and more efficient use of batteries. In our view, a battery should not only be able to store electricity, but also buy it from the grid or resell it.

The developed algorithms accurately predict the behavior of human electricity consumption, as well as the load of the electricity network, the price of electricity, the work of a solar power plant and the life of a battery. With all the battery information available, the best outcome is that the customer will pay less for electricity. Here are five battery management scenarios that the algorithms address:

  1. The cost minimization scenario is used to minimize electricity bills. This scenario can be used to have fixed tariffs or dynamic market prices for electricity. In this scenario, the battery is charged not only from PV generation, but also from the grid. In the case of a dynamic market price, the lowest electricity price is estimated and the batteries are charged according to the expected production.
  2. The self-consumption scenario is used to maximize the use of energy generated by PV. In this scenario, the task is to use all the energy generated by the PV and have no generation to the grid. This scenario is useful when the feed-in tariff is very low or there is no feed-in tariff.
  3. The peak shaving scenario is used when there is a limit to the user’s power consumption. If the user starts consuming more when the limit is set, he has to pay a very high price for electricity. In this case, a battery is used to reduce consumption peaks by supplying energy when demand is higher than allowed. This scenario should be popular for industrial applications.
  4. The self-sufficiency scenario is used to reduce network consumption. This case can be used for the concept of net zero buildings, where a building requires independent power.
  5. The curtailment scenario is used when there is an injection limit for the energy produced. In this scenario, excess PV energy is stored in the battery and used in the evening and early morning.

Examples of different scenarios:

  1. (a) Minimize costs

  1. (b) Maximize self-consumption

The different scenarios described above allow for a wider application of batteries. This not only further expands the construction of solar power plants, and thus protects the power grid, but also ensures that individuals and businesses pay even less for electricity. Our tests have shown that a smart battery can reduce electricity prices by up to 25%.

If a battery allows the charging and discharging of energy, it is possible to make almost any battery intelligent. The most important thing is the algorithm that controls the battery.

About the Author

Dr. Sarunas Stanait is the CEO of Inion Software. Over 15 years of experience in B2B sales, product management, marketing and project management. Inion Software is a company developing a solar plant monitoring platform and power management system for battery management in one place.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of pv magazine.

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