As the worldwide deployment of solar is gathering steam, a seamless integration of this intermittent energy source into the fully predictable and tightly organized electricity supply network is of the utmost importance. Therefore, Solarclarity, an international PV wholesaler based in the Netherlands, has opened its Energy Management Experience Centre (EMEC) to develop, test and apply systems that can provide the indispensable link between production and consumption of electricity.
“By 2050, it’s about ‘more’ than only generating electricity, we need to take that into consideration. It will be also about gas, heat and the infrastructure. The electricity and gas network is the largest system ever built by humans. You do not throw this away tomorrow because of the rise of renewable energy, but you need to use it cleverly, for example, by storing renewable energy. Energy storage is very important and it is especially the flexibility that we need to be able to respond to all renewable energy sources and the different end users,” said Jillis Raadschelders, chairman of Energy Storage NL at the centre’s opening ceremony in the Dutch town of Weesp.
All the speakers agreed on the central importance of renewable energy storage, and pointed to the new business models in the solar arena, which have potential to dramatically change the energy market, such as load-shifting and peak shaving by means of batteries, demand for large consumers, trade in the energy markets and even peer-to-peer transactions.
“In Solarclarity’s EMEC, the first components of the energy system of 2050 are connected: solar panels, batteries, the building and the network,” said Van der Hidde of EXE Energy. “Through our online platform Enwire, Solarclarity is already capable of trading locally generated energy. With one of our other tools, R.E.X., the generation and consumption can be better matched. This is an important development because there are already several companies in the Netherlands that spend more money on peak energy taxes than on actual power consumption. Energy management opens new business models.”
Pointing to the changing role of the solar industry, Solarclarity Director Peter Desmet said: “Thanks to the rise of renewable energy – and solar power in particular – we will see the economic end of fossil energy by 2020. Energy management is the final piece of the puzzle for the sun to become the biggest energy source. That is our reason to test, develop and apply systems in our EMEC to form the essential link between production and consumption of electricity.”