Storage and photovoltaic energy, advantages for the electricity system and for users

Stored energy together with photovoltaic systems could give the Italian electricity system benefits worth more than 500 million Euro a year, while for the average householder the installation of a battery would improve the balance of the photovoltaic system by about 150-170 Euro a year. A study commissioned by ANIE (the Italian electronics industry association).

04/11/2013
Storage and photovoltaic energy, advantages for the electricity system and for users

Stored energy together with photovoltaic systems could give the Italian electricity system benefits worth more than 500 million Euro a year, while for the average householder the installation of a battery would improve the balance of the photovoltaic system by about 150-170 Euro a year.

These are the findings of a study commissioned by ANIE (the Italian electronics industry association), carried out by BIP. The study considers 4 scenarios for the introduction into the Italian electricity system of batteries combined with photovoltaic plants.

Each scenario gives potential benefits for the electricity system, which can be classified by type. In fact, the use of batteries can improve the electricity system in different ways:

  • they allow for a reduction in the required thermoelectric capacity by reducing the peak evening demand;
  • production can be more precisely forecast and consequently 'imbalance costs' are cut;
  • network losses are reduced and the necessary investments in network infrastructures are lower;
  • the problem of excess generation in the daytime peak is alleviated;
  • safety is improved by the avoidance of blackouts and, lastly, they make the system more efficient, leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions.

In addition to these, there are also other benefits that have not been quantified: suitably modified batteries would allow more entities to offer network services, for example. But, above all, apart from the effects on employment linked to the development of the sector, storage would allow for an acceleration in real distributed generation, with positive economic, social and environmental benefits.

And how much would the user save by installing a battery in his/her photovoltaic system? For a householder in the north of the country, according to the study's estimates, to install a system without a subsidy would allow the bill to be cut by € 673 a year; including a battery in the system would allow for a further saving of about Euro 167, thus reducing the cost by Euro 840 thanks to the system and the battery.

For commercial users the possible savings are also considerable. The business case of a small supermarket shows that installing a non-subsidised photovoltaic system with a battery will reduce costs by about Euro 9,500; in fact, the addition of the battery improves the annual balance by Euro 1,400 compared to the installation of the photovoltaic system alone.

In short, storage seems economically attractive, even if the cost of the investment remains an unknown, since these simulations only estimate the potential savings. For the moment, storage systems still seem to be too expensive. It is not a coincidence that on the only markets where storage for photovoltaic systems is taking its first steps, in Germany and California, batteries are subsidised. The study requests that the Italian Government adopt similar measures.

(Article by Qualenergia.it)