Organized by: ACI
Date & venue: 24-25 April 2013, Lyon
This event was an interesting opportunity for investors, developpers, technical advisors, panelists and utilities to share knowledge and ideas for the development of utility scale and MegaPV Plants.
I want to highlight and share what is a main and public topic related to utility scale Solar Plants. In order for Solar Plants to compete in the electrical market with ordinary/traditional power plants and replace progressively obsolete technologies, solar must not only be grid compliant, but start offering control power and ancilliary services. An easy guess (based on the evolution of the technology) is that in the near future these services will be provided by solar, and in general renewable plants, even improving those of traditional power plants.
Technologies that can enable better control power and services include advanced power electronics and control on the inverters, Facts, flywheels, DC powerplants, hybridation of power plants, virtual power plants, power limitation or energy storage. The advanced prediction of resource with different time lapses is key for the controllability and marketization of the generation. Reliable prediction allows the market integration specially for the services.
But it is more than a question of technology, plant and control design, also the regulatory framework is key. Grid codes have to be aligned with the interest of the grid (capacity, reliability, competition, efficiency, sustainability), and markets have to be shaped also for optimizing the transparency, reliability, efficiency and competition. For example, if control power is contracted by blocks of hours it is not as open for solar control power as if it is for single hours. Another, if tender capacities are tendered weekly, it is an entrance barrier whereas if they are tendered daily.
In summary, there are already hardware and software technologies allowing utility scale to add another benefits to sustainability and competitiveness. With appropriate regulatory frameworks, utility PV ancilliary services and control power offering will grow fast.