Oiken and Studer Innotec develop virtual power plant

25 January 2024 11:41

CleantechAlpsGreater Geneva Bern

Sion - Oiken and Studer Innotec are developing a project to improve the control and use of photovoltaic systems and battery storage in private homes and neighborhoods for the entire electricity grid. The Ark Foundation is providing financial support.

The Valais energy supplier Oiken is working with Studer Innotec to launch a photovoltaic systems and battery storage innovation project for general power supply through a virtual power plant. According to a statement, the aim is to optimize and make the best possible use of variable and unplanned electricity generation in private homes or districts. The project, which is financially supported by The Ark Foundation, is being developed in collaboration with the Institut Icare in Sierre in the canton of Valais. The test phase will begin in 2024.

The aim of the project is to bring together small energy producers with the combined output of a large power plant to create a virtual power plant (VPP), according to the Oiken statement. The accelerated development of decentralized and unplanned energy generation from photovoltaic systems (PV systems) in “residential power plants” is fundamentally changing the management and control of the electricity grid, it writes.

According to solar statistics, PV systems with a total capacity of 4.7 gigawatts were installed in 2022, producing 3.8 terawatt hours or 6.7 per cent of Switzerland's electricity consumption. The proportion of solar energy generated already exceeds the proportion from other energy sources such as gas, hydropower or biomass during the day in summer.

At a local level, such as a single-family home, the aim is to improve self-consumption and optimize the feeding of electricity back into the grid by making optimal use of batteries. At the next level up, such as a neighborhood, the project focuses on the development of smart energy management for several systems. At the regional level or the DSO (distribution grid operator), the aim is to evaluate and combine local flexible power generation using a VPP solution. ce/gba

Swiss Pavilion Digital

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