PROSUMERS- PRODUCTION VS. CONSUMPTION?

Prosumers produce and consume energy, for example from photovoltaic source. This is the future of photovoltaics- to be able to have own power plant and use the energy  in-situ.

Prosumer production curve

In a perfect world, the energy production curve from photovoltaics would perfectly cover the consumption curve. As much as commercial and industrial sector energy usage profiles coincide with production from PV, the residential sector load has quite different shape. Wouldn’t it be ideal when the person who produces energy for own use could control the consumption profile?

Energy efficiency

There are new possibilities emerging. For example, Siemens new mobile app enables utilities to maximize customer engagement and increase energy efficiency. This data is collected by utilities however the access to them can be difficult and they often fail to meet customers’ online mobile needs

Energy Engage Mobile allows consumers to take control of their electricity, water, and even gas consumption on-the-go. This data can be followed almost in real time.

Solutions like this lead to endless possibilities: shifting energy usage off-peak avoiding high electricity rates, therefore more savings, possibilities of adjusting PV production and energy consumption as well as increase the general energy management and efficiency. Such systems leads to averies information, wated leakage etc. The barrier of implementation of such systems can the cost, including wireless hubs and gatewats and the smart termostats as well as appliances to communicate with them.

As studies shown, data of 15 minutes update is already interesting to engage people. The faster the data comes (the smaller the interval is), more chances are that this data is going to be noticed and taken into account.

Energy storage

If energy management could be additionally combined with energy storage, the option of having photovoltaics in prosumer model is even more interesting. The newest research of batteries in world labs shows great progress. Other solutions include placing pv modules more towards East or West, depending on building highest “activity”, depending on when the energy is needed most or putting trackers.

Net metering

One favourable solution is also net-metering, especially if the energy bills can be summed up in such periods of time, that the period of overproduction and underproduction can be compensated.

Utlities have to face yet another challenge that due to the higher implantation of renewables are expecting quite different load profiles than usually. Due to the fact that the large amount of afternoon consumption is covered by photovoltaic modules, operators have to use new strategies. Consumption profiles have more less so-called “duck shape” that evolved throughout years. Jim Lazar’s book “Teaching the Duck to Fly” advices how to escape from this characteristic load shape or to learn how to live with it. After all, renewable are the future of energy sector.

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