An investigation of the impact of time of generation on carbon savings from PV systems in Great Britain
Burgess, P. A., Vahdati, M. M. and Davies, D. (2011) An investigation of the impact of time of generation on carbon savings from PV systems in Great Britain. In: World Renewable Energy Congress, 8-13 May 2011, Linköping University, Sweden, pp. 2730-2737.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110572730
PV only generates electricity during daylight hours and primarily generates over summer. In the UK, the carbon intensity of grid electricity is higher during the daytime and over winter. This work investigates whether the grid electricity displaced by PV is high or low carbon compared to the annual mean carbon intensity using carbon factors at higher temporal resolutions (half-hourly and daily). UK policy for carbon reporting requires savings to be calculated using the annual mean carbon intensity of grid electricity. This work offers an insight into whether this technique is appropriate. Using half hourly data on the generating plant supplying the grid from November 2008 to May 2010, carbon factors for grid electricity at half-hourly and daily resolution have been derived using technology specific generation emission factors. Applying these factors to generation data from PV systems installed on schools, it is possible to assess the variation in the carbon savings from displacing grid electricity with PV generation using carbon factors with different time resolutions. The data has been analyzed for a period of 363 to 370 days and so cannot account for inter-year variations in the relationship between PV generation and carbon intensity of the electricity grid. This analysis suggests that PV displaces more carbon intensive electricity using half-hourly carbon factors than using daily factors but less compared with annual ones. A similar methodology could provide useful insights on other variable renewable and demand-side technologies and in other countries where PV performance and grid behavior are different.