Energy systems

Large penetration of intermittent renewable energy sources requires new strategies and tools to avoid disturbances in the distribution grids. By covering roofs and facades of existing buildings, photovoltaics (PV) is going to play a major role in our electricity supply. In this context demand-side management and storage solutions are required to ensure a smooth and safe operation of the grid. The energy system group of PV-Lab is aiming at providing effective and economical strategies in the design and operation of systems. The prime objective is maximizing the local consumption of PV electricity using energy storage and flexibilization of the electricity demand. To achieve these goals, the group is also focusing on building energy management and electric vehicle charging strategies.

Grid integration of photovoltaics

PV-Lab has developped a tool to optimize the design and operation of energy systems, ranging from a singles building to full low voltage grid taking into account PV installation, building electricity consumption, electricity storage and domestic hot-water and building heating. Effect of electricity pricing or reduction in the cost of particular technologies on the design, operation and grid constrain violations can be simulated. These simulations are helpful to identify investment opportunities for prosumers, to anticipate grid bottlenecks and quantify the potential for ancillary grid services.

Building energy management

The integration of PV and heat pumps in buildings is a promising way to decarbonize the residential sector. The optimization of the heat pump operation aims at increasing the self-consumption of locally produced PV electricity and at reducing the grid impact of large PV penetration. Efficient heuristic control algorithms have been developed that require limited computing power and no weather forecast. PV-Lab is also active in the development of ICT platforms to improve building energy management by stimulating behavioural changes (see EU project FEEdBACk)

Digitalisation and data analysis

The digitalization of energy services is a promising evolution path for electricity markets. At the building level, analysis of the electricity consumption using non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is of importance for the building management system. PV-Lab has developed an algorithm for the analysis of dwelling electric consumption based on 15-minute smart meter data. Licensing of this algorithm is available.

PV-Lab is also involved in a project with Applied Science University Valais for the control and operation of a network of electric vehicle charging stations using blockchain technolog.