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Reduce overloading of the electricity network with facade solar panels.

Due to the energy transition, the demand for sustainable electricity is increasing enormously, but what if you as a consumer do not receive the desired power or as a wind and solar park producer cannot dispose of the generated power? Then we speak of congestion, or congestion, on the electricity network. This congestion can be reduced with vertical solar panels on building facades.

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According to de Volkskrant, “the demand for electricity is rising so fast that the electricity grid is becoming overloaded in more and more places. As a result, some new customers can no longer be connected.” The Technische Weekblad already noted in 2020 that “the capacity to transport electricity falls short in more than 250 places in the Dutch grid”.

Many current (old) cables cannot handle the large capacity of power, but the permit procedure for additional cables can take about 7 years. Grid operator Liander has even made an online mapof where their network has reached maximum capacity and is therefore full. This gives a clear insight into the increase in network overload.

Solar power production on roofs and overload

In fact, the Dutch electricity network “cannot keep up with the transition to sustainable energy and electrification” (NOS). Due to the increasing demand for electricity, more installations for solar power production are also being installed, but the generation of energy and its consumption in the Netherlands are not always proportional. This causes the electricity network to come to a standstill and with it the energy transition.

On days when there is a lot of sun, such as in the summer around noon, there is a peak in solar power production. If this happens in combination with relatively low power consumption, such as during holidays or on weekends, these peaks cause too much power to enter the electricity grid and it becomes overloaded.

For standard flat-roof solar energy systems, where solar panels are placed at an angle of 10-15 degrees in an east-west arrangement, those peaks in generation occur around noon. A few times a year, these peaks cause the network to exceed its maximum capacity. If you were to produce more outside these midday peaks, more sustainable solar energy could be unlocked on the grid.

Solar panels on the facade ensure fewer peaks

According to our Solar Expert Evert Bende, vertical solar panels on east and west facades prevent these noon peaks. The peaks of generation of these types of systems are in the morning and in the afternoon. This therefore forms the solution for the current network congestion problem.

The advantages at a glance:

  • Relatively more solar energy is generated in the winter period, when electricity consumption is higher. This will certainly fit with increasing consumption in winter when more and more heat pumps are installed, which will become the mandatory technology for heating from 2026.
Energy production profile with improved match between price profile and solar energy generation with an east-west arrangement

Energy production profile with improved match between price profile and solar energy generation with an east-west arrangement

 

  • The peaks in the generation of solar energy occur around the morning and in the afternoon and thus relieve the electricity grid peaks around noon (12:00-14:00).
  • The generation of solar energy coincides better with consumption moments of companies and offices, this leads to more self-consumption, so that less use is made of transport through the cables of the electricity network.
  • The peaks in energy generation coincide more with the higher hourly prices on the electricity market (EPEX spot), with the so-called “duck curve” peaking in the morning and afternoon and having a trough around noon. This effect will only increase as more solar energy from flat roof systems is installed.
  • Relatively more solar energy is generated in winter when electricity prices are higher.
Example of the duck curve of electricity prices during a day, with maximum prices in the morning and in the evening.

Example of the duck curve of electricity prices during a day, with maximum prices in the morning and in the evening.

Why should solar panels on facades be embraced more?

Installing solar panels vertically on facades is an economical solution that governments and network companies have not yet sufficiently recognized. If we continue to install regular flat-roof solar energy systems, the electricity grid in even more areas of the Netherlands will fill up, which has enormous negative social consequences. Façade panels ensure that the energy transition can continue without overloading the grid.

Want to know more? Our Solar Expert Evert Bende is happy to tell you more about facade solar panels and their advantages: [email protected]

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