Czech firm shuts solar plant after it generated more power than the grid could handle

It was a sunny day that the grid could not handle.
Loukia Papadopoulos
An illustration of solar energy panels.jpg
An illustration of solar energy panels.

Pavel Babic/iStock 

They say you can have too much of a good thing, but is it really true? It would seem so for one Czech energy company that was forced to unplug hundreds of solar panels on Easter Monday after they generated more power than the grid could handle.

This is according to a report by Euronews published on Friday.

It was particularly sunny that day and so power production were high. This did not bode well for the company, which had no energy storage plan in place.

“What we have been saying for a long time has been proven. The Czech Republic is not ready for the renewable boom because there is a complete lack of storage capacity,” Jan Krčmář, executive director of the Czech Solar Association, told Czech news organization Seznam Zprávy.

Euronews further explained what happened during that tumultuous Monday:

“During sunny weather, solar panels can often produce more energy than the grid - the transmission network through which electricity is moved - can use,” said the news outlet.

“If this energy can’t be stored anywhere, it causes instability in the grid, damaging electrical equipment. In extreme situations, these voltage fluctuations can lead to blackouts.”

Activating a curtailment plan

That’s why ČEPS was forced to switch off power plants with a total capacity of about 400 MW, or about a sixth of the country’s total solar energy capacity.

“CEPS decided to activate the curtailment plan after exhausting the normally available operational measures to control the electricity system,” CEPS spokeswoman Hana Klímová told Euronews.

Under normal circumstances, the country would transmit excess energy to neighboring nations. However, Monday was such a sunny day that none of them needed electricity.

“All countries except Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia were in surplus,” Klímová told Euronews.

On the bright side, the incident could show naysayers that renewable energy is a viable power source. Now, the only thing needed is some efficient storage units to hold onto the excess energy for later use, and with new projects constantly underway, we may see a solution soon.

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