Innovation priority (see Annual Summary)
Solar PV Monitoring Phase 3
Sheffield Solar (The University of Sheffield)
*The innovation priority numbers in brackets are indirectly linked to the projects
Find out more on the Smarter Networks website.
In just over seven years, around 13 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation has been connected to GB distribution networks. This reduces demand at Grid Supply Point (GSP) level, where we flow power from the transmission system onto a distribution network. Some of the generated energy also flows in the other direction onto the transmission system on particularly sunny days, and where there are significant installations of solar PV. It’s critical that we can forecast the generation from these systems in order to manage the GB network in a secure and cost-effective way. Across the three phases of this work, we’ve been developing our understanding of the monitoring, measuring and forecasting of PV generation. In the earlier stages of this work, we measured generation at various sites, developed 30-minute generation patterns for PV, and created a new service to provide this monitoring for National Grid and the wider industry. At phase 3, we’re further developing this service.
Results and learning
The work we’ve done at phase 3 thus far has led to much better estimates of solar power at GSP level. These high-quality estimates allow us to precisely monitor and forecast how much power will flow onto and around the transmission system.
The existing outcomes of the work had been used for some years to make better decisions on how to balance the system at the national level. For the first time this year, the estimates of GSP solar power produced by phase 3 are being used to support real-time decisions on network outages and constraint management.
By understanding solar generation better, we can forecast supply and demand on the system more accurately. This will reduce system balancing costs and help us improve system stability. We estimate savings for our industry and consumers from the successful outcome of this project to be millions of pounds each year.