Germany: SMA teams with grid operator Tenne T to provide real-time solar data

Germany’s SMA has entered into a landmark collaboration with one of the leading transmission grid operators in Europe to deliver more accurate, real-time projections of fed-in solar energy to help ease the issue of solar’s intermittency on the grid.

Tenne T has around 21,000 km of high- and extra-high voltage lines in Germany and the Netherlands, and supplies energy to a region with 41 million end users.

By working with SMA’s data, the operator hopes to gain a greater understanding of the solar electricity being fed into its grids, including predictive modeling based on meteorological data, to ultimately grow the proportion of solar PV electricity integrated.

SMA will supply data from its bank of installed inverter systems across Tenne T’s region. Currently, this amounts to 40,000 PV systems, which will enable the grid operator to analyze typical patterns in the way solar energy is fed into its grids.

Tenne T can use the SMA data to prepare region-specific projections and predictions for solar power, and can thus reduce the energy supply from traditional sources when required, and improve bottleneck management in the process.

For current solar customers, SMA stresses that the data it provides is based only on postal (zip) code areas, thus protecting individual system data and the identity of its customers. By using its online Sunny Portal, SMA can quickly and effectively deliver digitized data to Tenne T – something that SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon believes will help steer the energy sector further along the path towards decentralized and renewable power 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 Urbon. "The ability to provide accurate production and consumption data is a key element of the decentralized and renewable energy supply of the future."

Tenne T chairman Urban Keussen remarked that decentralized energy and real-time data of clean energy are becoming important tools in the transition towards more renewable integration. "We can use this data to make much more reliable predictions about the feed-in of renewable energies," Keussen said. "This helps us operate the utility grid reliably and economically, even with an increased proportion of fluctuating green energy."

The partnership is the first of its kind in Germany, whereby a transmission grid operator received solar power generation data directly from source, ie, the installed inverters handling the solar energy within the grid’s operating region.

"Therefore," added Keussen, "this partnership is an important milestone in the digitalization of the energy industry."