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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K02227X/1
Title: PV2025 - Potential Costs and Benefits of Photovoltaics for UK-Infrastructure and Society
Principal Investigator: Gottschalg, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Pal, Professor B Hawkes, Professor A Betts, Dr TR
Rowley, Dr PN
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr C Candelise
Project Partners:
BlueSky International Limited E.On E.ON E&P UK Ltd
SMA Solar UK Ltd.
Department: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 31 December 2016 Value (£): 1,023,088
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Jan 2013 SUPERGEN Solar Energy Challenges Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The installation of photovoltaics today is largely evaluated in terms of quantity and the success of any market stimulation evaluated on the basis of how well the targets are met. This may cause significant problems for the national infrastructure and may lead to significant unnecessary costs for grid stabilisation. However, these factors are sometimes assessed too simplistically. When considering PV in a national context, it is also largely seen as a homogenous swarm of devices, i.e. all of them reacting rather similarly. This does not consider different orientations (system elevation determines the seasonal maximum, system orientation determines the daily maximum) or regional differences in the environmental conditions such as weather fronts passing in a matter of days over the country rather than instantaneously or the North experiencing a different weather front than the South; nationwide smoothing might very well limit the need for power control. Thus the overarching question in this proposal is 'How can we maximise the benefits and limit the costs for UK plc while having a vibrant PV market?'. The work is split into four topical areas (work-packages), which answer the four key questions:

- How much PV are we likely to get with different policies and where is it likely to be installed? This will consider different socio-economic drivers, cost curves of PV and work on installation scenarios giving links to likely social background of installations, locations (as in regions) and quantities.

- How much energy will this generate when and where? Based on current installations a model for the performance prediction of systems based on their post-code will be developed and validated against existing FIT data and other available monitoring data. A spin-off of this activity will be the widespread investigation of current installations, that will inform any further discussions on subsidy streams, and the potential for detailed condition monitoring with sparse data will be investigated. The model will be connected with the socio-economic drivers to stochastically locate future installations (using GIS and post-code classifiers), and estimate the energy yield for each system and aggregate to generation regions. This means that essentially for every system (which is today in the range of 400000 systems under the FIT) installed an hourly generation needs to be calculated, which will require very complex speed optimisation in the calculations.

- How will it impact the infrastructure? Grid simulations will be carried out bottom up as well as top down to see if there are issues either locally or nationally with the proposed installations. This will allow the recommendation of further measures to strengthen infrastructure and will allow a cost-benefit analysis of PV technology to be undertaken.

- What feedback will there be? Most policies will have effects on the questions above and thus it is foreseen that a feedback methodology will be created, calculating the costs/benefits for UK plc as well as evaluating likely responses of the policy makers and grid operators.

The collaboration between the different groups will be tightly managed, so that the project outcomes interface well. Tools will be generated and made available with non-proprietary data for public use.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk