Engerati’s Week In Smart Energy – Solar Marches Ahead

Published: Mon 07 Sep 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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Jonathan Spencer Jones
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Solar PV costs are rapidly declining as volumes increase and technologies improve. Among the latter is a move to AC solar in which panels have their own micro-inverter, either pre-installed or attached during installation. [AC Solar Market Continues to Grow] These modules, which are becoming increasingly popular, offer a number of distinct advantages over the standard DC configurations but there are also some disadvantages which need to be considered.

Declining solar costs will undoubtedly be welcomed, and will be further stimulated in India where the plan is to install 100GW of new solar by 2022. Of this, 40GW will be rooftop installations. One state, Haryana, is leading so far as all buildings on larger plots are required to install rooftop solar. [Going Solar On Rooftops: India targets 40GW by 2022] With the world’s largest PV installation on a single roof in India, its rooftop expertise is fast growing and will contribute to overcoming the significant engineering and business challenges the deployment will present.

Bills are a daily fact of life but for both sender and recipient they can be much more. Opower research highlights the bill as a high risk point when it comes to switching as it is often the moment around which customer satisfaction hinges most. Therefore, it is important to get it right by transforming it into a positive experience, with potentially different strategies required for different customers. [The Billing Moment: Mind the Gap]

Self-contained business parks, often located away from urban sprawl, make a natural location for a microgrid or at least some form of renewable energy generation. And an increasing number are pursuing this option, driven by the desire to reduce costs and their environmental footprints. What is thought to be the first self sustainable business park is in development in the UK and a business park in a Cape Town suburb is expanding its capacity having experienced above expectation operation in its first phase. [Business Parks Off-Grid Trend - A Utility Disruption]

Smart meters have the potential to contribute to loss reduction, but they are not always the best solution. For instance, a smart meter may have difficulty in locating losses in a low voltage diversion closer to the transformer. If there is no meter installed and there is a direct connection, there is a danger of unmetered loads and illegal MV connections. Also, sometimes meters are wired or installed incorrectly. In such instances “in grid data” combined with “meter analytics data” may be more effective in locating losses more quickly and more accurately. [Reducing Electricity Losses With In-Grid Data Analytics]

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