Abstract for: Diffusion of solar generation on rooftops: A system dynamics-based approach in Colombia

There is not much certainty regarding the diffusion process of solar generation on rooftops. This seems even more difficult to assess when countries have no explicit policy on renewables. In such cases, there is much uncertainty regarding the effect of solar penetration on electricity prices to consumers and on the reduction of electricity demand from the grid. The penetration of solar in the residential sector – in some cases about 40% of the country’s total electricity demand – may have a tremendous impact on incumbent utilities and the industry as whole. Much research has been undertaken concerning the effect of policy on the diffusion of renewables but not much work is known in the developing world, particularly in those nations where institutional arrangements do not favour these technologies. Using system dynamics, this paper examines these issues, considering the diffusion of rooftop solar with both battery support and without a storage system. This paper found that under conditions of no storage support, although not as favourable for system stability because of intermittency, such conditions nevertheless contribute to a much faster penetration of photovoltaic systems, as a consequence of their lower cost compared with grid tariff. However, in the medium-term both systems may reach similar diffusion levels, regardless of the cost of storage batteries.