University solar research wins industry award

University of Sheffield research group Sheffield Solar scoop a top industry award.

Sheffield Solar logo

Sheffield Solar was awarded the 2016 Smart Solar Industry Award from Smart Solar UK. The awards recognise excellence in the solar industry.

The group is part of Energy 2050 and the Grantham Centre. It has been active since 2010. Sheffield Solar operate the UK’s largest database of electricity generation data from rooftop solar panels. Further, it promotes the sharing of knowledge and data between industry, society and academia.

For the past 6 years, Sheffield Solar has been collecting data and analysing the performance of operational Photovoltaic (PV) systems around the UK.

The PV_Live project

Recently, the group have been working with National Grid to help the transmission system operator understand how much power the UK’s increasing number of solar panels are producing. And they are looking to improve the efficiency of its electricity network. On average the PV_Live project aims to reduce uncertainty in half hourly estimates of PV generation by 50 MW during daylight hours.

One result of this could mean savings for the National Grid of between £1 million and £10 million per year. It would do this through offsetting the need to increase reserve holdings of the short-term response electricity used to balance the grid. Ideally savings would be passed on to customers.

Another benefit could be a reduction in the environmental impact of grid balancing operations. Currently these are estimated at several thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

The PV_Live project has been so successful that after 8 months, the output from the tool went live in the National Grid control room. Now it is the main grid balancing tool for forecasting PV generation.

Sheffield Solar awarded prize

Aldous Everard Business Development Manager at Sheffield Solar explained why this award was important.

“I’m delighted that Sheffield Solar has been recognised through this award. Our project with National Grid has greatly improved real-time estimates of PV-generated solar power. And our data continues to be used by experts and energy journalists across the UK.”

Additionally, the group are nominated for a Business Green Technology award.

Edited by Claire Moran.