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Since its inception last year, Meteo for Energy has actively collaborated as a partner in GRETHA, a project focused on digital technologies to develop a new generation of PV facilities and electric microgrids. This initiative is funded by the HAZITEK 2021 programme, led by the Basque Government's Department of Economic Development, Sustainability, and the Environment.

GRETHA sets out to enhance the efficiency and integration of PV energy based on current needs in the energy sector. Some key focus areas include:


  1. Reducing LCOE costs in PV energy

Reducing the LCOE entails decreasing the overall cost of solar energy production throughout its lifecycle. Optimising manufacturing costs and enhancing crystalline silicon technology have enabled LCOE reduction thus far. However, for further reductions, it is necessary to decrease solar installations' operating and maintenance expenses (OPEX). Developing new monitoring and maintenance technologies would enable more efficient management and cost reduction in large-scale plants and distributed PV systems.

  1. Improved integration of PV energy into distribution grids and isolated micro-grids

To boost PV integration, efforts must be made to improve renewable energy management and increase the system’s flexibility. The hybridisation of PV installations with storage units can contribute to this goal, as it will allow better control and management and greater stability and reliability in energy distribution. In addition, intelligent and automated technology can further improve the efficiency and profitability of the sector.

  1. Digital transformation of the energy and PV sector

Digitalisation can improve electricity grid design, planning, operation and maintenance, creating more efficient management and integration. Collecting and analysing large amounts of data through sensors and IoT platforms optimise decision-making and early detection of grid problems, reducing costs and improving energy distribution security.


Sensors, big data, and digital twins to optimise PV generation in Spain

In this sense, the GRETHA project endeavours to implement cutting-edge technological innovations for integrating and managing PV energy in electricity distribution networks while reducing the LCOE. Some technologies encompassed in this pursuit include:

  • Sensor solutions at the PV module level to monitor and optimise the performance of solar panels in real-time: Sensors collect data to detect potential problems in the solar panel operation (such as dirt accumulation or shadows obstruction), to notify the user, then take corrective measures or optimise the solar panel’s performance based on the weather, environment and performance of the panel.
  • Digital twins to create hybrid models with cyber-physical representations of the PV industry: This technique combines actual operating data with synthetic failure data to develop forecasting and predictive maintenance algorithms. PV plants’ digital twins allow failure detection before it occurs, thus reducing O&M costs for higher operational efficiency. In addition, hybrid models enable the inclusion of comparative environmental data, such as solar radiation, temperature, humidity and other environmental factors, that, together with system operation data move towards a predictive PV generation model with improved integration.

A digital architecture is needed for the above solutions and to ensure data governance evolves towards new operation and maintenance services based on big data. Meteo for Energy is leading research on data governance to provide data space sovereignty for cybersecurity, identity control and correct use of data between data owners and users.

In 2022, Meteo for Energy made some progress in harnessing the technology developed by its intrapreneurship venture, BigDa Solutions. The focus was on creating a secure and unified data space to facilitate data exchange, enabling hybrid models based on sensor technology to optimise the sector. The initial step was the creation of an identity hub or identity manager, which verifies the identity of users for a secure data ecosystem.

The project will progress steadily throughout this year and 2024, with Meteo for Energy dedicated to advancing the development of the data space. The following steps will be creating a vocabulary provider, which will serve as an ontology or dictionary of terms establishing a unified language for the data parameters measured within the PV sector, following the guidelines of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.

GRETHA, spearheaded by Global Dominion Access, has a consortium of participants comprising Meteo for Energy; Dominion Energy; Elson Electrónica; Saltoki; Sener; and Deusto Seidor. There are some scientific and technological agents collaborating with this consortium, including Tecnalia, Global Dominion Access R&D, UPV/EHU, and the Energy Cluster.


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