New research has shown that Israel has the technical potential to deploy 172.5 GW of photovoltaics, of which 132.1 GW would be from conventional installations and 40 GW from agrivoltaics. If deployed, this full potential would require energy storage with a capacity of at least 500 GWh and strong development of vehicle-to-grid technologies.
This is the main conclusion of new research from Afeka Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering that expects PV to cover at least three-quarters of the country’s electricity demand by the end of the first half of the century.
In the study “The potential of renewable electricity in isolated grids: The case of Israel in 2050,” published in Applied Energy, the research team estimated that Israel may offer a total area of 1,129 km2 for solar energy deployment, most of which is located in the Galil Golan and the Negev regions.
The research did not include an economic assessment of the potential transition, stating uncertainties regarding cost evaluations as well as micro and macro-level developments. Gur Mittelman, the corresponding author, highlighted macro-level variability as the main reason for avoiding an economic analysis.
“From the state’s point of view, the transition to renewables is far exceeding the scope of the energy economy,” Mittelman told pv magazine. “This fundamental observation is missed by many researchers who only try to compare the fossil electricity cost versus the costs of renewable energy plus storage”.
Available land for PV
This availabe surface, according to the scientists, offers the technical potential for deploying 172.5 GW of photovoltaics, of which 132.1 GW may come from conventional installations, and 40 GW may be from agrivoltaics. If deployed, this huge amount of solar power would require energy storage with a combined capacity of 500 GWh. Intensive storage capacity would be required to compensate for the intermittent nature of solar energy. “Peak demand in Israel usually occurs in the evening,” they said.
They also estimated the country’s total electric demand for the year 2050, including electromobility, at 183.3 TWh and considered vehicle-to-grid (V2G) as a major source of storage. “In the V2G concept, the battery cost is actually embedded, or sunk,” Mittelman added. “There is a need for smart charging stations infrastructure, which are expected to be developed anyway as more and more electric vehicles are predicted to enter the market”.
The team assumed Israel may have 7 million electric vehicles (EVs) circulating in 2050, of which 6.6 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 0.4 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), with their respective battery sizes being 75 kWh and 15 kWh, which in turn would result in a theoretical V2G capacity of 501 GWh.
It calculated an annual mileage of 16,200 km for the private sector and a fuel economy of 180 and 200 Wh/km for BEVs and
PHEVs, respectively, with annual demand in the private sector being 20.5 TWh, and 22.7 TW with the addition of public EVs.
The study predicts under its “more realistic” scenario that 80% of Israel’s 2050 electrical mix could be based on renewable energy, with around 57.6% being covered by conventional solar PV and 17.6% by agrivoltaic solutions. The remaining minimal share of renewables would be covered by wind, sea wave energy and other minor sources. Solar would use only half of the area available for deployment and the total energy storage capacity needed would amount to 216 GWh.
The most optimistic and less likely scenario provided by the study predicts solar may reach an 88% share of the country’s electricity mix by 2050, with the storage capacity reaching its maximum potential of 500 GWh.
Another mid-term scenario also projects that solar may reach a 47% share by 2030, with storage capacity reaching 60 GWh.
“To our best knowledge, several energy resources, such as agrivoltaics and sea waves in Israel, were analyzed in detail for the first time,” the scientists concluded, referring to the novelty of their work. “Thus, the current work could be referred as a roadmap for the future Israeli electricity sector. “
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