Solar heavyweights back calls for more PV digitalisation

Some of the biggest players in Europe’s solar market have led calls for the continent’s authorities to back further digitalisation of the solar and wider energy sectors.

At last week’s SolarPower Summit, organised by European trade body SolarPower Europe, 50 leading companies co-signed a ‘Go Digital’ declaration that was handed over to Megan Richards, director of energy policy in DG Energy, European Commission.

Companies including the likes of Trina Solar, First Solar, Hanwha Q Cells and Huawei signed the letter which urges Europe’s authorities to embrace greater digitalisation of the energy sector to aid both solar and the wider energy transition.

Chief among the benefits of greater digitalisation were a cheaper transition to renewable energies. SPE cited the International Energy Agency’s report from November 2017 as claiming that more efficient use of the world’s existing energy grids could save as much as US$270 billion worldwide that would’ve otherwise been required for network upgrades.

Additional benefits include the fostering of better integration of renewables in the market, including reduced curtailment for existing generators, and more sector coupling between solar and accompanying sectors like electric vehicles, smart buildings and demand side response.

The declaration was well received, with Richards arguing that the Commission’s clean energy package is designed specifically to encourage the advantages of “new and better technologies”.

“The EU Energy Union strategy goes hand in hand with its Digital Single Market strategy, to drive forward progress,” she said.

Aurélie Beauvais, policy director at SolarPower Europe, meanwhile said solar was “at the heart of the digitalisation of energy in Europe”.

“Now we need the right regulatory framework to deliver the full potential of digital solar. We need policy makers to accelerate the deployment of smart grids, reform incentives for network operators and reward the speed and accuracy that solar can provide in grid supported services," she said.