Solar PV learning

Solar PV learning

As I have anticipated in my personal blog, dedicated to my Marie Curie Action, one of the activities I have been working on here at UC Berkeley is the modeling of learning in solar PV power plants in Integrated Assessment Models.

This activity – which involves four IAMs, including WITCH of course – was conceived at the end of the ADVANCE project and could not be completed within the end of the project. I had started working on it as a coordinator during ADVANCE, setting up the activity and in particular defining the exercise protocol, and I eventually decided to continue developing it during my Marie Skłodowska-Curie project because it perfectly suits Work Package 2, which is about the prospects of low-carbon power generation technologies (and which, therefore, is partly anticipated to the first year).

In IAMs, the cost evolution of renewable technologies is normally modeled through a learning curve, which yields the capital cost reductions as a function of dedicated R&D investments and/or actual capacity deployment (in this exercise only the latter applies). Naturally, the key parameter is the learning factor, which translates investments/deployment into the actual cost reduction.

The objective of the exercise is precisely to explore different cost pathways associated to different learning rates, analyzing how they influence the penetration of solar PV in the electricity mix, and ultimately the overall electricity mix itself.

In the past months, the participating teams had progressively submitted their results, and in these weeks I finally managed to carry out an integrated analysis of the outcomes, which I shared with my partners. I am now looking forward to receiving their feedbacks.

Naturally, I will talk about this work in my next June’s presentation at FEEM. On that day I will have to talk about a lot of topics, though, therefore I will not be able to discuss this activity thoroughly (even if of course I will try to to give a clear overview of the methodologies and of the main results). After all, it is just the first submission, and a second will certainly follow in next fall. So I will be able to present more consolidated results later on.

However, I will give a dedicated presentation on this topic at the International Energy Workshop (IEW), which will be held at the Joint Global Change Research Institute of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and University of Maryland (UMD), in College Park, MD, USA on July 12-14, so more details will be available in that occasion.

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