By knowing the irradiance recorded in one spot, the number of grouped power stations and the average surface area they occupy, we can simulate what fluctuations may take place in photovoltaic power.

Iñigo de la Parra Laita, an industrial engineer of the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre, has focussed his PhD thesis on the grid integration of large photovoltaic power stations. Among the contributions of his research he has developed a model that has been patented and which is capable of simulating fluctuations in photovoltaic power.
Right now, one of the problems the operator is facing is the impossibility of knowing the power variations that may take place in different points of the system in which various photovoltaic power stations converge. To find out this information one could fit power loggers at all the stations, but that is a very costly solution and, what is more, difficult because the power stations tend to have different owners.
This research is part of the European ‘PVCROPS‘ project (PhotoVoltaic cost reduction, Reliability, Operational performance, Prediction and Simulation), in which institutions of 7 countries are collaborating; the aim is twofold: to increase the quota of photovoltaic energy in Europe by up to 30% and to increase the energy efficiency of photovoltaic systems by 9% in order to cut the price of the kilowatt hour (kWh) of this origin.
Although photovoltaic facilities have traditionally been small and dispersed, today the tendency is to build large photovoltaic plants. This has also meant adopting new criteria for action (grid codes) that involve, for example, fixing the maximum variation in the power that a photovoltaic power station can inject into the power grid within a period of time.
The work by Iñigo de la Parra seeks to provide a solution for this scenario in which numerous companies are considering what they need to set up a photovoltaic plant in a place where compliance with these codes is required. Firstly, it is clear that a storage system needs to be installed, and this thesis has quantified what these energy requirements are, in terms of both power and energy.
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