My research project
Environment and Sustainability PhD
Nowadays, low carbon technologies (LCTs) such as solar photovoltaics (PVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) are attracting extra attention as global climate change, dominated by carbon emissions, becomes one of the most critical problems. The distributed generations are preferred for renewable resources rather than the centralised generation who could significantly influence the stability of the grid due to their discontinuous generation characteristics. The idea of the prosumer was coined by Alvin Toffler in 1980, whereas, in energy systems, the energy prosumers are the consumers who also produce and share surplus energy with the grid and other users. In recent years, EVs have drawn a lot of attention in the UK as they provide an environmentally friendly travel method. However, charging the EVs will increase the load of households and therefore introduce a problem of system stability degradation to the local grid. With self-sufficient energy systems implemented, the energy prosumers solve this problem in an effective way. As a sustainable power generation, photovoltaic (PV) power generation is one of the leading forces to cut greenhouse gas emissions and promote worldwide sustainable development. Compared with other renewable resources, solar is suitable for the small-scale generation that in a household unit. However, environmental awareness alone is not sufficient to accelerate the growth of PV installed capacity. For example, the UK has an uneven solar resources distribution where the south coast has plenty of solar resources while the north has few. Thus, the investigation of local PV systems’ cost-effectiveness always comes first before contracting the systems. In addition, the policy frameworks also play an essential role in penetrating PV power generation. In the UK, the Feed-in Tariff has been replaced by Smart Export Guarantee recently, which aims to encourage UK homeowners to pursue renewable energy. For these reasons, the prosumer-based model with a combination of EV charging and PV generation is of great research value as it has the potential for both optimising modern energy system and developing a net-zero energy system.