June 11, 2023


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solar cells across the country | Solar cells cut off electricity production when the sun’s conditions are best

– This is absolutely insane, says Oyvind Halseth.

The newspaper online Meet him at home in the park half an hour south of Oslo on a sunny day. It looks at the new facility that was installed last winter.

He is one of about 7,700 who will choose to invest in solar cells in 2022 alone.

Prices for the entire product are around NOK 300,000. The state covers approximately NOK 40,000 of the bill. This should give it about 16,000 kWh per year of self-produced electricity.

He was Technical Weekly who first reported the story.

interruption of electricity production

The Halseth house is in many ways ideal for solar cells because it has several large rooftops, and a partially steep roof. Already in February, he could see that the daily production was more than 70 kWh.

But when we stand there on a near-perfect solar cell day, they glow red in the solar cell app:

He says “abnormal”.

The problems started appearing as early as the end of February, and have mostly worsened since then. When production is high, and forced to sell a lot of electricity online, production is completely cut off.

Sometimes production decreases throughout the day almost continuously. Other days, the plant would turn on and off like Morse code.

On the day of the visit, he will not have a steady production until 18.05 pm. As a result, he wasn’t allowed to sell electricity on the grid, which is why he invested in the plant in the first place.

It is estimated that there may be 40-70 kWh every day that he cannot sell.

Very weak network

The problem is not that the system was installed incorrectly, but rather that the challenges lie in the local power grid. And he is not alone in his troubles.

– I contacted Norgesnett after speaking to supplier Otovo, and the person I spoke to there is absolutely right. Halseth says he dreads the summer because so many people are installing solar cells now, and that he fears the problems will only get worse in the future, Halseth says.

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The challenge is that the local power grid is very weak in places. If the electricity consumption in the neighborhood is low, at the same time the solar cells are sending so much electricity to the grid, the grid can’t handle the current. The tension gets very high. Then the plant must be cut so that it does not cause harm.

The Halseth plant is supplied by Norway’s largest player in the field, and installed via their partners. Facility size is well within the rules.

– Enova and the state encourages us to do so, isn’t the network in Norway built for this? he says dejectedly.

– Didn’t you think of buying a battery then?

– There is no topic. I will invest NOK 300,000 in this. I think the battery is great, but I can’t pay for it either. What size battery do I need? Produce 100 kWh today, 100 kWh tomorrow. Will I lose power in the meantime? he asks rhetorically.

The day after Nettavisen Halseth visited, he said that network company Norgesnett had made changes to the network and that he had not had any problems since.

star example

It is the responsibility of the grid company for the local power grid to be sound, and this should address the weaknesses.

says network owner Norgesnett Technical Weekly They are well aware of the problem. They could say they have “five or six grids” that have capacity issues because of the solar systems. Simon Werner, subject manager, refers to Halseth’s problem as an “excellent example” of what we could get more of in the future.

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Network companies take a long time to strengthen networks. If we at Norgesnett had to boost many parts of the grid to accept solar production, there would be several million in increased operating costs that would have to be spread out to everyone, Werner tells TU.

He calls for clearer rules about how internet companies can resolve this.

According to NVE, it is likely that challenges with more solar power systems will create more technical challenges.

Statnett recently warned that more wind and solar power on a larger scale could give one System collapse.

Autovo: – the responsibility of the network company

Andreas Thorsheim, managing director of solar cell giant Otovo, told Nettavisen that since 2016 they had 53 customers with high voltage problems. This accounts for less than one percent of the company’s customers, and he says this usually works because it is the responsibility of the network owner.

– The main rule is that people can feed as much electricity as the main smelter allows. It is usually 63 amps. In practical terms, this means that as long as you have 60 panels or less, everything should run fine, and electricity is received by grid companies. The NVE and its regulatory authority are also clear that network companies are obligated to upgrade when the network is not enough, he says.

He says that the electricity debate in Norway is somewhat characterized by an inability to balance all considerations.

– We will not reach the goal with hydroelectric power only, we need wind energy, batteries and solar energy. It involves investments. Online businesses as public actors should go far. It cannot be the grid companies that set the limits when there are so many other considerations in the Norwegian energy debate, he says.

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Thorsheim believes that the market needs three changes in the future:

Networking companies must build for the future, not the past. The network must be expanded, and this must be done continuously as necessary

– Batteries must be allowed to run. In Norway, we are the country with the fewest number of batteries per inhabitant. In Germany, 8 out of 10 solar systems are sold with batteries. This means that the solar cells load less on the grid, while at the same time they can balance the grid.

Today Enova offers support for solar cells, while batteries do not.

– Also, as solar energy players, we must be good advisors to our customers. We can’t advise on maximizing the size of facilities, and sometimes we recommend minimizing the size of installations when we know the installation will take place in a location where the network is weak, he says.

Responsibility of the network owner

Elvia, Norway’s largest grid company, told Nettavisen that the solar cell installation is mostly going well, but there are some issues where there are poor grids.

– The most important thing is that customers contact us in time, Morten Shaw from Elvia tells Netavien, who is fully aware that the responsibility lies with the network company.

In addition to situations where the network is very weak and needs an upgrade, according to Schau, a common problem is that systems are installed incorrectly.

– When we receive complaints, there are usually problems with the customer’s facility. Unfortunately, there are some who just don’t do a good enough job. It’s important to pick someone who has experience with this, Shaw says, and also notes that there’s a lot of self-import out there from the big players.