The challenge

The Photoncycle business is built on the belief that distributed electricity can play an increasingly important role in the transition to a 100% renewable energy system. New PV technology will gradually increase the electricity generation available from rooftops, fully meeting demand in single occupancy households.

However, todays distributed generation technology has major weaknesses. PV systems in many geographies produce electricity mainly when it is not in demand during the day in the summer, exporting surplus electricity to the grid. Intermittent PV electricity is destabilising the grid, requiring increasing amount of centrally located back up generation and storage capacity to match electricity system supply and demand in real time, driving up system cost.

Wealthier households tend to be early adapters of distributed PV. A growing share of distributed PV generation increases the electricity bills for households that do not have PV installed, including many poorer households. This is a fundamentally unfair outcome which may constrain future distributed PV growth. 

As more wind and solar generated power is phased into the electricity system, the system imbalances are likely to get worse. Batteries can deal with short term fluctuations in supply and demand. However, battery storage is an expensive way of storing large quantities of electricity and contains very little energy per kg mass. Despite technological improvements, the fundamental limitations of battery technology will remain.

New technology needs to be developed to store PV electricity safely and cost effectively over time. This will enable distributed PV generation to be a sustainable solution for the energy system also in countries with significant seasonal variation in PV generation and demand.

Photoncycle develops technology and business concepts to meet this challenge.