The Role of Electric Grid Companies in the Development of Solar Energy

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4–7 September, 2013, Jakarta, Indonesia

Alternative energy


he rapid growth of the renewable power 
generation has probably become one of the 
established trends in the energy sector during 
the recent 


 ve years.

The Role of Electric Grid 

Companies in the Development 

of Solar Energy

Within the context of the Energy Strategy of Russia for the Period 
up to 2030 (approved by Decree 1715-


 of the Government of 

the Russian Federation dated 13 November 2009) a signi



role is assigned to the development of new renewable energy 
sources and energy carriers: “Introduction into the fuel and 
energy balance of such new renewable energy sources as ... solar 
energy, ... will enable balancing of the demand for energy and 
reducing the impact of energy enterprises on the environment”.





), director for development

 of Non-Commercial Partnership “Association of solar energy enterprises”

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel 

when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and 
tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we 
don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that”.

Thomas Edison (in a talk with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone), 1931

Investments in renewable energy sources (RES) 

throughout the world increased even during the crisis 
of 2011 by 5% to 260 bln dollars, meanwhile the 
investments in solar energy increased by 36% to 136.6 bln 

dollars. The total capacity of generating 
facilities based on RES, including small 
hydropower plants, made up as much as 
450 GW at the end of 2011. The share of 
RES in the energy balance of the majority 
of European countries is still increasing 
and by 2020 it may reach 20 per cent.

The sector which is at present 

developing most dynamically is the solar 
power generation. During the recent 
decade the industry has been developing 
with annual rates from 30 to 100%, 
which contributed to the technological 
progress and 7-fold decrease of the cost 
of production for the period of 20 years 
(1991— 2011), while in 2008—2012 the 
decrease was 3-fold. In 2011 the increase 
made up 40%, whereas the total capacity 
of power generating facilities in the world 
amounted to 65 GW.

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 ve largest countries implemen-

ting major programs in the 


 eld of solar 

power generation include Germany, 
Italy, China, USA and France, the share 
of which in 2011 amounted to 74% of 
the total production volume. The best 
dynamics of consumption, namely about 
470%, was recorded in China, which, 
according to experts, is going to assume 
the absolute lead in this 


 eld in the 

nearest years.

The motives behind the transition to 

the use of solar energy around the globe 
are various and do not always hinge 
on the presence of the hydrocarbon 
resources. The most widely-spread 
incentives are the following: creating 
conditions for development and 
modernization of operating enterprises 
and scienti


 c institutes, creating new 

jobs, solving the task of reducing 
harmful emissions into the atmosphere, 
which is principal for Europeans. The 
most evident factor of the industry 
development is the desire of world 
economies to adapt to rising prices for 
energy carriers through reducing the 
energy intensity and promoting solar 
energy, the cost of which has decreased 
10 times during 10 years.

Russia has an enormous potential 

in the 


 eld of RES, primarily, in solar 

energy. The insolation level (the 
measure of solar radiation reaching the 
earth surface) in certain regions — the 
South of Russia, Siberia, Far East, Volga Region — is 
comparable to those in countries which lead in solar 
energy generation such as Germany, Italy, Spain (



1 and 2). According to the estimates of the Ministry of 

Energy of the Russian Federation, the volume of the 
photovoltaic generating facilities connected to the UES 
of Russia can exceed 6 GW. This index for the Far East 
energy system amounts to over 1 GW.

The development of solar energy generation 

in Russia promises great pro



ts for the 

manufacturing industry and electric power 
industry. The example of European countries 
clearly shows that it promotes the development 
of related industries and creation of jobs 
requiring high quali


 cation. Due to solar energy 

generation alone over 100000 jobs were created 
in Germany. Besides, construction of solar 
energy generation facilities in Russia will make 
it possible to solve current tasks of supplying 
power to not easily accessible and isolated 
territories. For example, operation of hybrid 
solar-diesel generating systems in regions with a 
high level of diesel generation makes it possible 
to reduce budgetary expenditure and improve 
the ecological situation many times.

Nevertheless, despite the existing potential, 

not only solar energy generation alone but RES, 

Fig. 1. Map insolation Italy

Daily value of total solar radiation, kWh/m



and more


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4–7 September, 2013, Jakarta, Indonesia

Alternative energy

as a whole, develop at much slower rates than in other 
countries, owing to geographical, climatic and other factors. 
At present Russia’s share amounts to 0.01% of the world’s 
installed capacity of photovoltaic systems. The current 
annual volume of solar installations in Russia, according 
to the most optimistic forecasts of the market participants, 
does not exceed 1 MW. The majority of installations are 
small-scale (up to 5 kW) systems designed for private 
residences. More optimistic experts forecast over 25 MW 
of total installations in 2013, but now it is nothing more 
but forecasts.

One of the key inhibitory factors is the lack of statutory 

instruments regulating execution of the federal law “On 
the Electric Power Industry” as amended. There are no 
mechanisms for return of investments in solar energy 
generation projects as well as capabilities of technological 
connection of solar systems to the uni


 ed electric grid.

The problem of training highly-quali


 ed  personnel 

for innovative enterprises under construction is solved 
by investors themselves; the problem of insuf



domestic raw and other materials is solved through 
import, with simultaneous investigation of opportunities 
for localization of the whole production process. Thus, at 
present business is trying to independently solve problems 
related to both production start-up and sales of products in 
future. While in Europe, China and other developed and 
developing countries the state undertakes solving many 
tasks by promoting development of innovative economy.

It’s absolutely clear that promotion of solar energy 

generation in Russia requires introduction of appropriate 
all-level support measures, as well as simpli


 cation  of 

interaction processes with adjacent entities.

In accordance with Federal Law No 35 “On Electric 

Power Industry” the technological basis of Russia’s 

electric power industry is made by the Uni


 ed National 

Electric Grid (UNEG), regional distribution networks 
used for transmission of electric power and the integrated 
system of operational and supervisory control. The 
main task of ensuring reliable operation of UNEG and 
distribution network has been entrusted to electric grid 
companies — JSC “FGC UES” and JSC “MRSK Holding” 

Taking this into account, electric power grid compa-

nies are interested in ensuring the required level of grid 
reliability while connecting small-scale generation facili-
ties for parallel operation. As for connection of photo-
voltaic generation units, it requires working out a special 
approach to parallel operation as their generation volumes 
depend on the intensity of solar radiation and cannot be 
controlled by the supervisory personnel.

Due to the above-mentioned peculiarities of solar en-

ergy generation facilities, their parallel-operation connec-
tion to the grid needs working out of special enactments 
and technical regulations. The following documents re-
quire foremost attention:
•  amendments to the standards for technological connec-

tion, forms of agreements and technical speci



•  forming a separate group of technological connection 


•  developing a specialized group of technical speci



tions for connection of solar energy generation facili-
ties to the grid (including operation synchronization 
and stabilization automatics);

•  amendments and clari


 cations to regulations of opera-

tional and technological interaction between entities;

•  amendments to the rules of technical operation of elec-

tric installations;

•  amendments to the operational safety rules.

Fig. 2. Map insolation regions of Russia



frontiers of Federal regions

Daily volume of solar radiation, kWh/m



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A number of measures in this 

direction have already been taken. 
Decree No 744-


 of the Government 

of the Russian Federation dated 
05.05.2012 approved of the Plan of 
measures for introducing appropriate 
changes in the Federal Law “On 
Electric Power Industry”; Decree 
No 1839 of the Government of the 
Russian Federation dated 04.10.2012 
approved of a complex of measures for 
promoting electric power generation at 
RES-based facilities. 

At present JSC “FGC UES” is 

conducting active work in each of 
the speci



ed directions. Starting 

from 2011 the management of the 
company have been members of the supervisory board 
of the “Association of solar energy enterprises”. The 
activities of this sectoral association are directed at 
overall development of solar energy generation, which 
is an innovative industry in Russia, and creation of 
favourable conditions both for the establishment of 
the solar energy market in Russia and introduction 
of Russian high-tech products into foreign markets. 
The association is to become a representative and 
authoritative agency uniting Russian players in the solar 
energy market — scientists and research engineers, 
suppliers of services and equipment, producers of 
components and 


 nal products.

The Association members are also members of 

working groups in the Ministry of Energy of Russia, RF 
State Duma, RF Government staff, “Market Council”. The 


 rst-priority task set before these groups is developing 

proposals for regulations for introducing mechanisms of 
promoting RES in the wholesale and retail markets of 
electric power and capacity.

With the aim of examining issues concerning 

connection of solar energy generation facilities to the 
grid by the Federal Grid Company in cooperation with 
partnering companies a solar energy generation facility 

is being constructed on the island of Valaam (within the 
framework of the investment Program of JSC “FGC 
UES”) and a solar power generation system with an 
adaptive management system is being developed in 
“Skolkovo” Innovation Centre (within the framework of 
the agreement between JSC “FGC UES” and “Skolkovo” 
Innovation Centre).

Also, variants of developing the “Solar City” concept 

(within the framework of the Innovative Development 
Program) and installing solar systems for auxiliary power 
supply for JSC “FGC UES” substations (within the 
framework of the Program of energy saving and increasing 
energy ef


 ciency) are investigated.

At the same time JSC “MRSK Holding” actively 

searches for solutions in the 


 eld of implementing 

fundamentally new power supply sources of self-
contained systems based on renewable power sources 
(sun, wind) as well as for ways of improving quality 
and reliability of power supply of remote consumers 
through the use of self-contained power supply systems, 
and conducts research in the sphere of solving technical 
problems of connecting distributed generation and 
renewables to its grids. The company works on the 
development of methods and regulatory documents 

as regards connection of small-scale 
generation facilities, including photo-
voltaic power plants, to the grids for 
parallel operation.

The experience which the company 

gets while implementing such projects 
enables it to gain necessary knowledge 
about operational peculiarities of solar 
energy generation facilities in different 
conditions and to work out the proper 
technical and organizational solutions 
addressing all aspects of the given kind 
of installations. Apparently, in future 
all taken measures will provide for the 
company the required level of readiness 
for large-scale implementation of small 
photovoltaic generation facilities.

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Within the context of the Energy Strategy of Russia for the Period up to 2030 (approved by Decree 1715‑р of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 13 November 2009) a significant role is assigned to the development of new renewable energy sources and energy carriers: “Introduction into the fuel and energy balance of such new renewable energy sources as... solar energy,... will enable balancing of the demand for energy and reducing the impact of energy enterprises on the environment”.


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