SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) and the transmission grid operator TenneT have recently signed a contract for the provision of current performance data from PV systems. The goal is to better integrate solar energy into the utility grid. Using data supplied by SMA, TenneT can make more realistic, real-time projections of the level of fed-in solar energy in the TenneT control area and, in combination with meteorological data for the coming hours and days, make more accurate predictions. This means that the growing proportion of electric current from PV systems can be planned much more effectively and integrated into the utility grid. This partnership is a significant milestone in the digitalization of the electricity supply.
“Following the pioneering technological work involved in generating sufficient volumes of renewable energy cost-efficiently, the next step is the digitalization of the energy industry,” said SMA Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Pascal Urbon. “The ability to provide accurate production and consumption data is a key element of the decentralized and renewable energy supply of the future. In this system, the data ensures that a safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity supply is available at all times. The partnership between SMA and TenneT is therefore an important step on the road toward a new energy world.”
“With the rapidly growing share of renewable energies in power generation, decentralized and real-time data about the generation of green energy is becoming increasingly important,” said Urban Keussen, Chairman of the Managing Board at TenneT TSO GmbH. “We can use this data to make much more reliable predictions about the feed-in of renewable energies. This helps us operate the utility grid reliably and economically, even with an increasing proportion of fluctuating green energy. The partnership between TenneT and SMA is the first of its kind in Germany. For the first time ever, a transmission grid operator can now receive solar power generation data directly. This partnership is therefore an important milestone in the digitalization of the energy industry.”
With over 220,000 PV systems registered on the online Sunny Portal worldwide, SMA has a unique basis for reliably predicting photovoltaic power generation. More than 40,000 PV systems equipped with SMA inverters are installed in the TenneT control area alone. Of course, SMA always takes care to protect its customers when supplying data. For example, the aggregation of current measurement data for PV power generation is based on postal code areas, which is an effective means of preventing the identification of individual systems.
The increasingly decentralized and volatile power generated at voltage levels below extra-high voltage poses new challenges for those responsible for safe grid operations–particularly in regions with a high PV penetration level, such as TenneT’s control area. Around 40% of the solar energy supply in Germany falls within the control area of the transmission grid operator, which includes Bavaria–one of Germany’s largest producer states. TenneT therefore uses the data from SMA Energy Services to prepare region-specific projections and predictions for solar power, to market renewable energy, to reduce the normal energy demand and to improve bottleneck management. These measures not only increase system safety but, due to the grid charges, they also ultimately have a positive impact on electricity prices.