Photovoltaic plant optimization to leverage electric self consumption by harnessing building thermal mass
Keywords: 
EnergyPlus
Photovoltaic solar panel
Model predictive control
Thermal inertia
Low/high thermal mass
Genetic algorithm
Power-to-heat
Issue Date: 
2020
ISSN: 
2071-1050
Citation: 
Fernández-Bandera, C. (Carlos); Pachano, J. (José); Salom, J. (Jaume); et al. "Photovoltaic plant optimization to leverage electric self consumption by harnessing building thermal mass". Sustainability. 12 (2), 2020, 553
Abstract
The self-consumption without surplus to the grid is one of the aspects of the new Spanish law for prosumers. Increasing the share of renewable energy sources into the grid inherently leads to several constraints. The mismatch between the energy demand and the renewable energy production, which is intermittent in nature, is one of those challenges. Storage offers the possibility to decouple demand and supply, and therefore, it adds flexibility to the electric system. This research evaluates expanding electricity self-consumption without surplus to the grid by harnessing thermal mass storage in the residential sector. The methodology is investigated by using a variable refrigerant flow air conditioner system. Because there is no option to export the excess capacity to the grid, this research proposes an approach to profiting from this surplus energy by activating structural thermal mass, which is quantified from the information acquired using a building energy model. For this purpose, an EnergyPlus model of a flat in Pamplona (Spain) was used. The optimization analysis was based on a set-point modulation control strategy. Results show that under adequate climatological circumstances, the proposed methodology can reduce the total electric energy from the grid between by 60¿80%.

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