Main content area

A photovoltaic net metering system and its environmental performance: A case study from Slovenia

Virtič, Peter, Kovačič Lukman, Rebeka
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.212 pp. 334-342
case studies, cost effectiveness, electric power, electricity costs, energy, environmental impact, environmental performance, global warming, humans, issues and policy, markets, planning, prices, taxes, toxicity, Slovenia
Energy for society is an important element globally. Policy discussions in relation to climate change, suggest a transition from fossil-carbon-based systems to those based primarily upon renewable sources. The authors of this paper focused on a technical approach that can help to make that transition, namely pilot photovoltaic net metering installation for a business-residential entity in Slovenia, including its environmental perspectives. Results of the pilot photovoltaic net metering system installation revealed that the most cost effective solution is a photovoltaic installation with peak power of 6 kW, producing excess energy during the daytime. This has demonstrated that, with a proper planning, an optimum balance between energy production and consumption can be reached, and achieving a minimum price per kWh of the system. Regarding the environmental performance of the system, the results indicated that the most significant environmental impacts during its life cycle are related to global warming followed by human toxicity and terrestrial eco-toxicity. Photovoltaic net metering represents an option for producing and consuming cleaner energy, compared to conventional generation and usage, lowering the total price of the electrical energy (including fees and taxes) in comparison with the market purchases. This case study suggested that employing photovoltaic net metering in Slovenia is a reasonable option from the financial and environmental points of view, especially in the event of future increases of electricity price.