MAPPING THE RELEVANCE OF DIGITALISATION FOR PHOTOVOLTAICS

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Author
Alet, Pierre-Jean
Eftyhmiou, Venizelos
Adinolfi, Grazia
Arrowsmith, Greg
Barchi, Grazia
Chowdhury, Gofran
De Vito, Saverio
Garabetian, Thomas
Graditi, Giorgio
Leloux, Jonathan
Abstract
Digitalisation is a central issue for the PV sector, impacting all segments of the PV value chain, and all aspects of energy productions from PV technologies and beyond. The proper integration of renewable energy resources in the power system requires proper digitalization to ensure the electricity system's monitoring, to guarantee observability and control. However, it is a protean concept that covers many realities, and whose benefits, impacts, benefits and opportunities are extremely different at various points of the PV value chain. Drafted in the framework of the activities of the ETIP PV Working Group on Digital PV and Grid, this paper will seek to provide a thorough mapping of the relevance and implication of digitalisation for PV, notably providing an overview of the technologies, benefits and risks posed by digitalisation, identifying barriers and potential best practices and recommendations to maximise the potential of PV via digitalisation. This paper will explore the different meanings of digitalisation in the PV sector. First, the paper will delve into the contribution of digitalisation to the PV manufacturing process, notably with the issue of dataflows across the PV industry, during production and the life-cycle of PV systems, to understand how this can deliver more qualitative PV installations with a lower cost and better environmental performance. Futher innovation pathways, in the context of PV digitalization for quality assurance may include : the interfacing of PV data fusion with digital twins and (machine) learning-loop(s) for PV system design, implementation and operation and optimisation ; the integration of BIM and GIS data ; as well as the upgrade of (aerial) IR imagery to hyperspectral or multispectral imagery. The paper will also explore in details the question of data-sharing and that of the integration of digital PV in energy communities, as a tool for flexibility and to improve the quality of forecasting the availability of PV and its impact on the grid and the local and broader market level. As digitalisation progresses and permeates all segments of the energy system, from the manufacturing process to large scale generation installations, including residential PV and batteries systems, the matter of cybersecurity and guaranteeing the integrity of the system is becoming ever more pregnant. This paper will provide an overview of best practices and key outstanding issues in that regard, also exploring the question of the digital/energy nexus, which is becoming increasingly important as the digital sector requires an ever larger share of the global energy production. Beyond the consideration of technical solutions, the paper will also explore the challenges posed by the regulatory and policy framework for digitalisation in the electricity market, specifically considering PV technologies, notably the question of data-sharing in tenders for PV projects. This also includes analysing policy responses to the digitalisation challenge, for instance in the NECPs.
Publication Reference
European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EUPVSEC) 2023
Year
2023-09
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