Project: - Automated analysis of small-scale photovoltaic systems

Description: Initiated by the Paris Agreement of December 2015 is the 2050 low-carbon economy roadmap. Relative to 1990 levels, the greenhouse gas emission reduction milestones associated with this roadmap are: 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. The power sector has the biggest potential for emissions reductions, not only does the sector have the potential to almost eliminate CO2e emissions by 2050 but the electrification of other sectors, such as transportation, can further reduce emissions in general. To address these issues, the power sector has been undergoing significant change in recent years. Renewable energy technologies have seen wide scale adoption, most significantly of wind and solar photovoltaics installation at the utility scale, decarbonizing the energy mix yet presenting integration problems due to their associated variability, unpredictability and asynchronicity of supply. Small-scale renewables have seen less adoption and are typically a lot less reliable. The adoption of small-scale renewables tends to include relatively high up-front costs for viability considerations and the relative cost of monitoring equipment is generally economically prohibitive. However, small-scale localized photovoltaic installations empower the general population by increasing their self-sufficiency and energy security. The future electricity network is a network of distributed prosumers, self-consuming their generation when possible and drawing from or feeding into the network when not. Adoption of small-scale renewable energy generation systems also leads to increased human capital in renewable energy, raising awareness and understanding of the energy picture in general. A well-developed and freely available tool for automated analysis can accelerate the deployment of small-scale photovoltaic systems whilst informing the distribution and transmission system network operators of the effects, allowing them to implement mitigation strategies.

Collaboration with: Ian Cole (RISE, Cyprus)

Techniques used: Satellite imagery, geospatial analysis, GIS, Internet of Things, big data analysis, modelling, simulations.

Started: Dec. 2019

Status: On-going

Patrick J.M. Isherwood, Ian R. Cole, Alex Smith and Tom R. Betts, The impact of spectral variation on the thermodynamic limits to photovoltaic energy conversion, Solar Energy, vol. 221, pp.131-139, June 2021.

Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Ian Cole, Thomas Betts and Ralph Gottschalg, Comparison of solar radiation and PV generation variability: system dispersion in the UK, IET Renewable Power Generation, vol. 11, no. 5, pp.550-557, 2017