Remote work might unlock solar PV's potential of cracking the ‘Duck Curve’

Kumar Biswajit Debnath*, David P. Jenkins, Sandhya Patidar, Andrew D. Peacock

*Corresponding author for this work

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Integrating renewable energy technologies into a decentralised smart grid presents the ‘Duck Curve’ challenge — the disparity between peak demand and solar photovoltaic (PV) yield. Smart grid operators still lack an effective solution to this problem, resulting in the need to maintain standby fossil fuel-fired plants. The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns necessitated a shift to remote work (work-from-home) and home-based education. The primary objective of this study was to explore mitigating strategies for the duck curve challenge by investigating this notable shift in behaviour by examining the effect of remote work and education on grid and decentralised solar PV electricity use in 100 households with battery energy storage in the southwest of the UK. This study examined 1-min granular grid electricity and decentralised solar energy consumption data for April–August 2019 and 2020. The findings revealed statistically significant disparities in energy demand. Notably, there was a 1.4—10% decrease in average electricity consumption from April to August 2020 (during and following the lockdown) compared to the corresponding months of 2019. Furthermore, household grid electricity consumption was reduced by 24—25%, while self-consumption from solar PV systems increased by 7—8% during the lockdown in April and May 2020 compared to 2019. This increase in self-consumption was particularly prominent in the morning and afternoon, possibly attributed to the growing prevalence of work-from-home and home-based education. The dynamic shifts in energy consumption patterns emphasised the role of decentralised solar PV energy in meeting the evolving needs of households during unprecedented societal changes. Additionally, remote work might unlock decentralised solar PV's potential in resolving the ‘Duck Curve’, urging further investigation into the implications for energy infrastructure and policy development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123378
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date16 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 May 2024


  • COVID-19 lockdown
  • Electricity grid
  • Residential electricity consumption
  • Solar PV
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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