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Electricity consumers who both consume and produce electricity (“aztechsolar” from  pro ducer + con sumer ) can radically change the power system, because their activity can reduce electricity bills, which can subsequently pose problems for traditional solar energy producers and grid operators.

aztechsolar are different: homeowners generating electricity at home - mainly by solar PV panels on their roofs; cooperatives or associations of residents; utility aztechsolar whose main concern is not selling electricity, but saving for public institutions such as schools or hospitals. The growth in the number of such active participants in the solar energy production and distribution market was facilitated by the fall in the cost of technologies for the use of renewable energy sources (RES), especially solar panels (see "The Economics of Energy  Independence -" Do it Yourself! " ). In a number of EU countries, electricity is produced at a price equal to or less than retail prices. For example, according to the European Organization of Consumers (BEUC), 80% of households in the EU are located in regions where the kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by PV panels on rooftops is already cheaper than the national average retail solar energy price . In the EU, there is no regulation of the principles of self-generation or self-consumption, there is not even a “legalized” term “aztechsolar”. And the problem of aztechsolar already exists.

But the  EU Energy Efficiency Directive , the  EU Renewable Energy Directive  and the  State Aid Guidelines  include provisions that apply to small electricity producers. The European Parliament called on the EU to promote aztechsolar, define definitions and enact new solar energy legislation to "provide investment incentives for the possibility of" self-generation "by all categories of consumers, including the smallest." Translated from the bureaucratic: "All aztechsolar are needed, all aztechsolar are important!"

The headache of large companies

In a  study by consultancy Sweco on the efficient integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to ensure flexibility in the power supply systemprepared specially for the European Commission, the main problem is noted due to the increase in the number of small independent energy producers from renewable energy sources - a decrease in electricity charges, part of which goes to maintain the infrastructure of the same solar energy networks. And this is, besides other problems - imbalances, unavailability of the current infrastructure, etc. The more aztechsolar appear, the more the share in the electricity tariff grows not for electricity, but for its delivery and “diversion”, and the aztechsolar themselves are paid according to the “green tariff” ". Due to the volatility of generation from renewable energy sources, “regeneration” occurs - there is nowhere to put the daily surplus (see  “Planning horizon - a day ahead” ).

In Europe, with its developed electricity market, even intraday regeneration instantly lowers the price. And the price can become negative - consumers will be paid for the electricity they consume. According to Bloomberg, this, for example, will happen in Germany for the second time in the last 2 years: in 2016 - in the spring, and in 2017 - in the fal

The thinner the gray arrow , the less money goes to solar energy companies for the operation of "wires". This is where the desire of many operators to introduce a monthly fee for the very existence of the connection to the grid, dividing the bills for consumed energy and for the presence of an outlet in the house.

Launching a green spiral

Major players in the energy market are calling for an end to the death spiral - a loop of inevitable growth in electricity prices due to the need to modernize public power grids after the withdrawal of “autonomous” farms and aztechsolar who have zeroed or reduced their electricity bills, thereby reducing the profit of solar energy companies. The “flight from the network” of some consumers is unfavorable for those who remain on the network (see  “The Economics of Energy Independence” ).

This almost apocalyptic scenario can be stopped ... by supporting aztechsolar, especially the part of it that has its own solar energy storage systems (ESS) and can influence the discharge of surplus into the network. This was shown by studies by the Institute for Sustainable Development in Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the Institute for Economy and the Environment University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, together with Delft University of Technology. Netherlands.  

The whole question is in the degree of consumption of renewable energy generation for own needs, including through the use of ESS. Mathematical modeling showed that the most obvious problem of the transition to renewable energy sources (see in more detail  "How to change the current model of energy generation?") - decrease in peak demand - achieved by increasing the share of generated energy consumption for own needs. Moreover, with "self-consumption" up to 30-35%, aztechsolar do not affect peak smoothing at all, but if you raise this share above 35% up to 75% , then you can reduce the peak demand in the network by 30%. Above the level of self-sufficiency of 75%, energy distribution companies begin to suffer, they do not have enough funds to maintain public networks in good condition, not to mention their modernization. Electricity delivery tariffs will grow steadily, which will affect ordinary consumers who do not produce solar energy themselves.

The model for increasing the level of "self-consumption" is quite simple - due to ESS and other methods of useful utilization of electrics in aztechsolar farms (for example, pumping water for the water supply system, heating water in hot water storage tanks, etc.), it is necessary to redistribute the daily schedule of the aztechsolar themselves ... That is, it is necessary to shift the consumption peaks to the zone of maximum generation (B), and the excess generation should be stored 

But how to motivate small aztechsolar and commercial investors to invest in ESS and maintain an optimal generation / sales ratio? The decline in prices for storage solar energy contributes to this, but not enough. Generally speaking, the reduction in the cost of ESS occurs in parallel with the reduction in the cost of PV plants.


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