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Spatially-explicit models should consider real-world diffusion of renewable electricity: Solar PV example in Switzerland

Thormeyer, Christoph
Published in Renewable Energy. 2020, vol. 145, p. 363-374
Abstract Spatially-explicit bottom-up energy models with detailed renewable energy representation are increasingly developed. In order to inform such models, we investigate spatial diffusion patterns of solar PV projects in 2′222 Swiss municipalities. Using a dataset of feed-in tariff and one-time subsidy recipients in 2016, we show that PV diffusion was spatially uneven throughout Switzerland in terms of four indicators: the number of PV projects per municipality, per 1′000 inhabitants, per unit of municipal electricity demand, and per unit of municipal land area. Urban-rural divide and exploitable solar PV potential are the key, but not the only predictors of the spatial heterogeneity in PV diffusion. The structure of the municipal economy, socio-demographic characteristics, regional spillover effects, and additional differences in local contexts, such as local policies, matter as well. Spatial diffusion patterns to some extent structurally differ across sub-national regions too, indicating that such empirical investigations are valuable in order to understand what can be generalized. We conclude with recommendations for developing and validating spatially-resolved energy models so that they capture realistic patterns of solar PV diffusion: gather, maintain and analyze spatial data on PV projects and develop robust modelling functions that do not only rely on PV potential.
Keywords Renewable energy diffusionSpatial analysisSolar PVSpatially-explicit energy models
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Article (Accepted version) (2.7 MB) - document accessible for UNIGE members only Limited access to UNIGE
Research groups FORE10 Renewable Energy Systems
ISE Pôle Sciences
ISE Energie
Project FNS: 160563
(ISO format)
THORMEYER, Christoph, SASSE, Jan-Philipp, TRUTNEVYTE, Evelina. Spatially-explicit models should consider real-world diffusion of renewable electricity: Solar PV example in Switzerland. In: Renewable Energy, 2020, vol. 145, p. 363-374. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2019.06.017 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:119232

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Deposited on : 2019-06-12

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