Solar energy – one piece of the puzzle for the electrification of society

  There can be few people who still haven’t noticed that large parts of society are in the process of electrification. Industry, transport and other sectors are adapting to meet sustainability goals. But electrification also has its challenges. As electricity consumption increases, our electricity grids are under great pressure. “Grid support services are a prerequisite going forward,” says Ludvig Bydén, business developer at Svensk Solenergi.

Right now, there is a lot of talk about services that will support and stabilise our electricity systems. Ancillary services are needed to ensure that electricity can be transmitted reliably from producers to consumers.

Svensk Solenergi is a trade association with 280 members, all of whom are active in, or have an interest in, solar energy or solar power. Svensk Solenergi has as its mission to promote more solar energy in Sweden, and it does this by, among other things, influencing opinions and through various initiatives to raise the quality of the industry.

– Our vision is that 15% of the electricity and heat produced will come from solar energy. This would cover many needs in several grid areas even as electricity consumption is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Producing energy in more places in the country is also an issue in terms of security of supply. The more energy we produce in Sweden, the more secure our electricity supply will be.

“We need more decentralised production”

Sweden’s electricity grid needs to remain in balance. At certain times of the day, usage is higher, while at other times, demand drops off. During the year, high electricity prices have occurred during the day when demand is highest and when the production of solar energy is at its best.

– Support services are a hot topic right now. This discussion includes deregulation, frequency support and peak shaving. So, of course, we talk a lot about storage. We need to start looking at all parts of the grid more as a system and through that system balance production and consumption, Ludvig says. He continues:

– Support services such as solar power and energy storage in batteries, for example, will be a prerequisite in the future. There are advantages to more decentralised production and a higher degree of control. It has the potential to be a more reliable system, resilient against disruptions.

The solar energy industry, and the demand for solar energy, is growing rapidly. More and more people want to be able to produce renewable electricity, while high electricity prices have created a desire to be able to produce it themselves.

– The target group for solar energy is ‘anyone who uses electricity’. We work to ensure that the expansion of renewable energy benefits everyone in society. The big developers and property owners, but also people in their private homes. Not everyone has their own roof, but there is a great advantage in being able to invest in, or access, solar energy in a way that benefits them as well. We want to see energy communities implemented in Sweden in some form, so that everyone can benefit from its deployment.

One energy system – many technologies

There is no doubt that solar energy and storage will become an increasingly important part of Sweden’s energy system. Solar energy is a natural part of the transition that is under way and will act as a key technology in electrification. However, it’s also true that there are various challenges in its development.

– One issue we discuss a lot is material availability. That’s to say, ensuring that the raw materials themselves are available in sufficient quantity and that they are extracted in a sustainable manner with regard to both the environment and human rights. This is relevant both for storage and for the solar panels themselves. It would be very positive for Sweden if we could mine some of these metals ourselves and perhaps even become an export country for them.

– The big challenge will be to have an energy system based on many different technologies. Solar power can be deployed quickly and provide large total power production in a year. But we are only one piece of the puzzle. Wind power will also add significantly to the electricity mix in the near future. Going forward, we will need all the power we can get with the expected doubling of electricity use in the fairly near future.

At Elfack, the industry association Svensk Solenergi will take the stage to tell us more about how we can use batteries to store our own electricity and provide support services to the grid.

– I hope that those who listen will become better buyers of solar energy systems by, among other things, choosing a member company of Svensk Solenergi. They have signed our code of conduct, so you can choose a company that has certified solar installers, Ludwig concludes.

You can read more about Elfack here »