The third round of Digital Solar & Storage event, hosted by Solar Power Europe, was held in Brussels, Belgium on November 5, 2019.
Solar energy is the most widely used renewable energy in Europe today, of which the cost of power generation is even more competitive. However, as the FiT is coming to an end, industry insiders generally believe that solar energy still has more untapped potential than it has already demonstrated. The investors or manufacturers of the PV systems in Europe all agree that energy digitization and energy storage will be important mediums for energy transformation, the development of energy digitization will be carried out from several aspects:
Data Digitization to Lower O&M Cost
Nowadays drones are deployed in great quantity in the process of PVPP maintenance. The use of drones can reduce not only the cost of maintenance by 50% but also the time of manual inspection by 90%. Additionally, this is a platform, which can manage and monitor the asset life cycle of PVPP. The data could be collected via cross-system integration, which, in turn, could be analyzed real-time. Preventive maintenance of power stations could be carried out (when needed) to improve their power generation efficiency. In the long run, data analysis could be implemented to predict the irradiance through satellite imaging. Solar cadastral plans can be more effectively formulated for future solar power dispatching.
Evolution of the electricity grid
Grid 1.0 is established via contracts, where the power is directly sold after the power is generated.Grid 2.0 is preliminarily regulated to maintain its stability, such as frequency regulation and harmonic suppression. However, starting from grid 3.0, solar energy becomes energy that is dispatchable. Grid digitization adopts new technologies, such as wireless communication and big data analysis for remote monitoring. In other words, smart grid partners up with energy storage for energy exchange and regulation. As a result, the grid reliability could be improved and more flexible, which could adjust the power depending on the supply and demand. Consequently, the electricity use could be more efficient.
5G will be the catalyzer of digital energy use case
5G is predicted to be the first global standard technology to be used to solve many difficulties in the future, because of 5G, the immense amount of data will be effectively utilized. T-Mobile has promised a 100% renewable energy coverage by 2021. Vodafone also promised to purchase 100% renewable electricity by 2025. Verizon announced that renewable energy will account for 50% of its total electricity by 2025.It is estimated that by 2030, the digitization of the grid will bring the global renewable energy industry 810 billion euros worth of economic benefits. By 2025, the capacity of the household electrical appliance that is smart technology controllable in Europe will reach 60 GW, which could reduce the peak load of the grid by 10%.