Are you an owner of solar panels? Have you ever checked whether your solar panels actually produce the energy they promised? Or have you ever noticed that on sunny days your PV-installation temporarily shuts down or has a lower energy yield for a short period of time? Within the framework of a new project, VITO/EnergyVille tries to visualise the problem of curtailment. Interesting? Do the test and fill in the survey below. It won’t take longer than a minute of your time.

What is the problem exactly?

Of all renewable energy sources, solar panels have gained most attention throughout the years. A problem with solar panels though is that they don’t continuously produce energy like other energy sources. It is generally known that solar panels can only generate power when the sun is shining; most often this energy isn’t even used at the same time. As a consequence, the majority of the power produced will be sent back to the grid.

The more PV-installations on the roofs, the busier the traffic on the grid. This can lead to problems. When the grid gets congested and the voltage reaches the maximum limit of 253V, the solar energy is cut off.  For a specific installation in Flanders this phenomenon already led to 110 hours of missed out solar energy.

Grafiek met vermogen zonnepanelen

How can you recognise the problem?

Do you want to check yourself if you miss out on important energy revenues? It is very simple to recognise the problem. Curtailment typically occurs on sunny days somewhere between February and October. You can consult the data of your PV converter online (by means of a smartphone/tablet or PV) or read it directly from the screen of the PV converter. When the PV production equals zero or fluctuates between the maximum and the minimum (as on the image above) and this for at least 10 minutes or more, than curtailment of the produced solar energy occurs.

How big is the problem?

To get an idea of the size of the problem in Belgium, VITO/EnergyVille launches a survey. Does the problem sound familiar to you? Or do the data of your installation confirm the problem? Then make sure to fill in the questionnaire and help us to visualise the problem and optimise the development of new technologies.