Electricity produced from photovoltaic (PV) systems are an important part of the 2000-Watt-Society and Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 targets. In fact, an additional 15 Terawatt-hours of electricity produced from PV is expected in Switzerland by 2050. However, more PV is not necessarily better; it is critical to intelligently use on-site energy generation to avoid curtailed (wasted) electricity production or grid instabilities.
To help address these concerns in Switzerland, regulations facilitate self-consumption from decentralized PV systems with a recent focus on self-consumption communities. Self-consumption ratios for individual residential systems are as low as 15% and up to 56% depending on total installed PV capacity, geographic location and consumption profiles. For individual systems, demand side response strategies have the potential to increase self-consumption by 2-15% point. However, individual-based demand side response strategies often have a limited efficacy.
On the other hand, community scale solar PV systems have many advantages including a higher baseline for self-consumption from complementary load profiles. Furthermore, literature indicates that shared commodities (in this case, we propose electricity produced by the PV system), transparent monitoring, and mutual agreements have the greatest potential to create lasting sustainable consumption behavior. This however requires great coordination between multiple users to maximize anticipated benefits, and is a critical dynamic to understand as decentralized energy systems are further integrated into our daily lives.
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