German think tank says network could cope with 150GW solar-plus-storage ‘breakthrough’


Germany’s electricity network could cope with the addition of “huge amounts” of solar-plus-storage being added to it and in fact benefit from the storage in particular, but policy changes might be required to enable that scenario.

A briefing just published by think tank Agora Energiewende looks at a “what if” scenario whereby Germany could have as much as 150GW of PV by 2033, with as much as 80GW of it on residential rooftops. Co-authored by two of the think tank’s directors, Matthias Deutsch and Patrick Graichen, it assumes that in this scenario, especially given falling costs and price pressure exerted by Tesla’s low benchmarks, among other factors, around 40GW of household batteries would be installed.

The expansion in the numbers of residential solar-plus-storage systems would be “massive” in the instance of this kind of battery “breakthrough”, the authors claimed.

Making up the rest of the picture would be around 70GW of solar not paired with storage, while there could be 23GW of large-scale storage for “industry, trade and services” and 5GW for balancing reserve at grid level. Meanwhile EV batteries could represent 125GW of output and although this was not factored in to the analysis of the grid’s dynamics, the think tank said the area also had “large potential”.

The report’s authors were unavailable for comment this morning. However, an Agora spokesman confirmed to PV Tech today that while the headline findings of the report, which is yet to be translated into English from its original German version, essentially state that the country’s grid could cope with a cumulative PV generation capacity of 150GW and around 70GW of wind power, even benefitting the network by providing services such as frequency control, it will depend on “how it is controlled”.

Agora Energiewende, which was in fact originally founded by former Green politician and now state secretary for the economic affairs and energy Rainer Baake, has recommended a mixture of technical measures and regulatory changes that will enable this high renewable energy deployment scenario to occur. Ultimately, key to this would be optimising self-consumption from household batteries.

For the full version of this story, with analysis and commentary, visit PV Tech Storage.

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