Solar energy on the grid: Intermittency session at Solar Power International

With more solar photovoltaics installations everywhere from residential rooftops to utility fields, intermittency is a growing concern. Dr. Michael Brower, AWS Truepower, shares today’s and tomorrow’s intermittency solutions.

October 20, 2011 — At Solar Power International, wrapping up today in Dallas, TX, Dr. Michael Brower, AWS Truepower, discusses the effect of solar photovoltaics‘ growth on the power grid.

Dr. Brower speaks with senior technical editor Debra Vogler.



The main impact for grid operators is “intermittency,” or the way solar energy naturally fluctuates throughout the day (due to shading, passing clouds) and from day to night.

A lot of these issues have been considered for wind energy, but the tools developed in this renewable sector don’t fit neatly into solar’s needs.

Energy storage is a “future” solution to intermittency, but today’s solution involves spreading solar installations around so that clouds don’t affect all of the solar arrays at once.

And what about the grid itself? Modernization is needed, Bower acknoledges. Back-up generation (conventional resources) helps even out variable power supplies like photovoltaics and wind energy. In the future, energy storage technologies will hit the market and share this responsibility.

More interviews from SPI 2011:

Skyline Solar unveils CPV technology at SPI, chats about subsidies

Solar Power Technologies: Using the cloud to achieve ROI

Suniva adds BOS components to PV offering

Canadian Solar makes a play for re-engineering solar economics

Paula Mints on Solyndra, PV grid parity

CA’s solar leadership today and tomorrow

CPV ramps to utility status

Heraeus nods to PV cost pressures with lower-silver pastes

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