A solar farm can increase its revenue by up to 15 percent if it uses "smart" technology

Budapest,  19. April 2023

With the spread of renewable energy sources, more and more solar parks are being built in Hungary, with several thousand megawatts of new solar power plants currently waiting to be connected to the grid. However, this growth is making the electricity grid more and more unstable, as the energy from weather-dependent sources is not coming in consistently. Many improvements to the grid are needed to ensure optimal and profitable operation, but participation in balancing can also help solar plants in difficulty. Thanks to the latest 'smart' technologies, it is possible to both stabilize the national grid and improve the profitability of solar farms, says Nano Energies’ expert.

In recent years, 3 gigawatts of solar energy capacity - industrial scale, over 50 kW - has been built in Hungary and new investors are ready to join. However, the planned solar capacity would place excessive strain on the Hungarian energy grid in its current state. The existing capacity already causes stability problems, especially during the summer periods when all solar panels would deliver electricity to the national grid at the same time. In order to further expand the capacity, significant modernization investments are necessary, however, with new technological solutions, the operation of the solar power plants currently connected to the grid can be made more efficient and even additional income can be achieved.

"Improving profitability can be achieved by taking advantage of energy flexibility, which means the continuous matching of consumption and production. This can be ensured by flexibility aggregator providers using innovative technology," explains Tibor Lukács, Head of Nano Energies Hungary. Nano Energies' flexibility aggregator service can organise the dispatching so that solar power plants do not overload the grid but still bring additional revenue to their owners. This can increase the revenue generated from solar power by up to 15 percent per megawatt of solar power generated.

"As a flexibility aggregator, we are able to reduce energy output in a controlled way, according to the needs of the grid. Solar power plants are thus able to enter the market for ancillary services and gain additional revenue by stabilising the grid. The reduction in output is not even noticeable during operation, as everything is done automatically through a smart system," says Tibor Lukács. "The service benefits not only the power plants, but also the national grid as a whole, which will benefit from improved stability."

Owners of solar power plants are already compensated for being on standby to reduce or shut down the plant's output, called „reservation of service”. The profit from the so-called "minus service" aimed at curtailing production covers, and usually even exceeds, the amount that the solar farm would have earned by generating electricity. The service not only helps to stabilise the grid and prevent blackouts, it also gives the solar plant the opportunity to recover lost revenue from grid connection delays as soon as possible.

Nano Energies combines several electricity producers and consumers into a common intelligent system, which thus functions as a virtual power plant. The individual generators are stopped or started within minutes for both the manual (mFRR) and the automated (aFRR) Frequency Restoration Reserves. In the future, with the development of battery storage, flexible aggregation may be even more effective, which instead of stopping or reducing power, will charge the batteries when the network is overloaded.