URSOLAR - Optimization of SOLAR energy usage in URban energy systems
Starting point / motivation
Solar energy (heat and electricity) still plays a minor role in the urban energy system. Due to the fact that solar technologies include numerous benefits (e.g. zero emissions of noise, greenhouse gases and air pollutants and the general availability of the energy source), a more important role of solar energy is desirable in the city of the future.
The local usage of solar energy depends on different conditions (e.g. energy infrastructure, limited space as well as competition for space between solar technologies). Due to the fact that solar energy outputs are volatile during the day as well as during the year, the supply of energy does not equal its demand frequently. Moreover, the implementation of energy systems depends on interests and scopes of action (e.g. acceptance factors, legal conditions) of different stakeholders, which are market actors as well as owners and tenants of houses, apartments etc. It is therefore especially relevant for the effective usage of solar energy to identify technical system solutions which are adjusted to specific city quarters and their infrastructural conditions as well as to avoid transformation losses and to relieve the load on the grid.
In this context, optional system solutions are e.g. micro grids, storage and power-to-heat technologies as well as grid feed-in strategies in case of increased demand. In order to implement these technical system solutions successfully in city quarters, they must be combined with target group oriented business models, which depend on the quarter's investors (e.g. residents). On the one hand personal attitudes in relation to acceptance of different technical system solutions play a major role in this context. On the other hand different business models (e.g. contracting or revenue sharing models) influence different people (in relation to their social status) to invest in renewable energies.
Contents and goals
The establishment of adequate combinations of technical system solutions and business models adjusted to specific types of city quarters is a complex task. Thus, the goal of URSOLAR is the development of a roadmap which guides the way to an integrated and optimized solar energy system in urban areas and takes into account infrastructural, legal as well as social conditions in three typical city quarters.
In two project areas the research team identifies technical system solutions as well as organizational implementation models. Based on primary and secondary data, technical, social and legal conditions in selected case study areas, which represent the before identified typical city quarters (which can be found in most Austrian cities), are analyzed. The results of this analysis enable the identification of the most important success factors and implementation barriers. A process-accompanying stakeholder dialogue includes a transdisciplinary enlargement as well as the assessment of sustainability factors of the suggested solution combinations.
Therefore, the special added value of URSOLAR is the development of an inter- and transdisciplinary roadmap for decision makers which takes into account economically, ecologically an socially sustainable systems of solar energy supply and usage and which is adjusted to typical city quarters, their respective conditions and existing energy systems. Thus, the project's results are useful for the strategic expansion of solar energy in urban areas as well as the integration into the urban energy system.
University of Graz, Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research
Project or cooperation partners
- Grazer Energieagentur Ges.m.b.H.
- University of Graz, Institut für Österreichisches, Europäisches und Vergleichendes Öffentliches Recht, Politikwissenschaft und Verwaltungslehre
Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research
Tel.: +43 (0) 316 380 - 3234