Analysis of PV power future development possibilities
Keywords: renewable energy, PV power plants, trends of development, generation costs, integration costs, external costs, climate change
AbstractNumerous innovations, absence of fuel and fuel-related problems, excellent environmental characteristics and other economic and technical factors result in a permanent decline of PV systems cost and unprecedented growth of photovoltaic markets. Because of this, PV energy production technologies are becoming economically viable even in the Northern countries where the annual solar irradiation on the horizontal surface is around 900–1 100 kWh/m2. New circumstances allow reconsideration of PV systems viability for electricity production in high latitude countries not excepting the Baltic States. This paper provides a review of broad data on global development trends for solar power plants, including countries where solar irradiations are moderate. Advantages of PV systems development are justified by taking into account electricity generation costs, external costs and positive impact on climate change mitigation. Further reduction of PV systems cost is reasoned by describing recent innovations that will have a major impact on a new decrease of PV modules prices. The paper also discusses possible ways that could allow minimizing of PV power plants integration costs by reduction of expenditures for power balancing. The provided data reflect that good results in integration costs reduction can be achieved by combining several renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro in proper ratios. Finally, the presented data and their analysis indicate that PV power plants could definitely take a certain part in the future electricity generation mix in high latitude countries due to its wide accessibility, economic efficiency, maturity and environmental benefits.