There is no natural inertia in a photovoltaic (PV) generator and changes in irradiation can be seen immediately at the output power. Moving cloud shadows are the dominant reason for fast PV power fluctuations taking place typically within a minute between 20 to 100% of the clear sky value roughly 100 times a day, on average. Therefore, operating a utility scale grid connected PV power plant is challenging. Currently, in many regions, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind receive feed-in tariffs that ensure a certain price for the energy. On the other hand, electricity markets operate on a supply-demand principle and a typical imbalance settlement period is one hour. This paper presents the energy, power and corresponding requirements for an energy storage system in a solar PV power plant to feed the power to the grid meeting the electricity spot markets practices. An ideal PV energy production forecast is assumed to be available to define reference powers of the system for the studied imbalance settlement periods. The analysis is done for three different PV system sizes using the existing irradiance measurements of the Tampere University of Technology solar PV power station research plant.
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