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Empowering corporate customers “photovoltaics virtual private network” business models : an opportunity to increase the potential amount of electricity generated from corporate customers photovoltaic systems by introducing the concept of “utility-owned virtual storage” / Antonietta Di Chio
AuthorDi Chio, Antonietta
CensorHaas, Reinhard
PublishedWien, 2017
Description86 Blätter : Illustrationen, Diagramme
Institutional NoteTechnische Universität Wien, Master Thesis, 2017
Document typeMaster Thesis
Keywords (DE)business model / photovoltaics / corporate customer / net metering / virtual storage / distribution network
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubtuw:1-104197 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Empowering corporate customers “photovoltaics virtual private network” business models [3.55 mb]
Abstract (English)

In the current electricity market situation and under current legal provisions in Austria, corporate customers are not encouraged to exploit the space on the roofs of their buildings for self-generation with photovoltaics. Typically, they tend to reduce the dimensions of their photovoltaic systems in order to avoid excess generation being fed into the grid, because this is regarded as a financial loss. This condition is particularly evident when high total electricity consumption is spread across several customer sites. In the present work, a new business model offered by utilities was designed, using the data 2016 of an actual large corporate customer in Austria, in the grid area of Vienna. In 2016, the customer had a total electricity consumption of 40,000,000 kilowatthours, spread across five metering points. ^By using a typical telecommunication terminology, the new model can be described as a “virtual private network” covering electricity supply by the utility, a customer-owned decentralized photovoltaic system and a utility company-owned “virtual” storage. The “virtual private network” model was compared with the self-generation solution the customer would be able to implement under current market and regulatory conditions. Research question was whether and to what extent the new business model is able to make it economically attractive for the corporate customer to dimension its rooftop photovoltaic system in such a way that a large electricity surplus is generated and that production and consumption are net metered among the customers sites, either simultaneously or with a time-shift. ^The comparison of the two models has revealed that the “virtual private network” is economically attractive for the corporate customer, under the condition that existing network charges can be amended. The new model enables an installed capacity of 7,700 kilowattpeak for self-generation with photovoltaics, against 3,740 kilowattpeak in the case of the “status quo” model. Furthermore, both self-generation volumes and savings on operational expenditures (OPEX) double in the case of the “virtual private power network”, while capital expenditures (CAPEX) required for implementation only increase by 60%, due to the positive effect of economies of scale. As a second step, we proposed that the customer shares the mentioned savings with the utility and with the grid operator, and that current network charges are replaced by a “Virtual Private Network Access Fee”. ^The fee collected by the grid operator has to cover the access to the private network, smart data metering and invoicing. Additionally, the utility is paid a price for the services rendered with the “virtual private network” model. The present work could show that new business models like the “virtual private network” developed will help re-think the role of utilities and of network operators as future business partners for so called “prosumers” (when the same entity is contemporarily consumer and producer). Otherwise, traditional players will be replaced by new ones more eligible to meet changed customer requirements, such as electricity storage vendors. This new understanding of the role of utilities and of network operators as enablers of decentralized electricity generation will have a positive influence on the achievement of the EU climate goals 2030 and 2050, to which Austria has committed.

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