Analysis of variations in instantaneous weather effects

This project has developed innovative strategies for the distribution of mature, commercialised PV technologies within existing electricity networks, and in particular identified that up to 10MW of distributed solar PV could be installed within the Alice Springs grid.

Lead organisation:
Ekistica Pty Ltd trading as CAT Projects
Location:
Alice Springs, NT
Technology:
Solar energy
ARENA programme:
Former Australian Solar Institute initiatives and programmes
Start date:
June 2012
Finish date:
March 2015

Need

Integration issues, caused by the inability of baseload electricity generators to respond quickly to variations in grid-connected solar electricity caused by localised weather effects, have been identified as the main factor preventing a large increase in the number of grid-connected solar power generators.

An increased understanding of the impacts and management of large amounts of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy being introduced into existing electricity networks is needed to address this.

Project innovation

This project has developed innovative strategies for the distribution of mature, commercialised PV technologies within existing electricity networks.

Using a network of solar monitoring stations the project developed an improved estimate for the maximum number of solar power generators that can be connected to the electricity grid without energy storage, taking into account the generators’ distribution across the geographical area of the grid.

Benefit

The analysis carried out by this project will increase the confidence with which large amounts of solar energy can be integrated into electricity networks.

The data collection and analysis is of immediate relevance to solar projects that are currently being planned in the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia.

The findings will also increase the confidence with which performance-based Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) can be formulated, and have the potential to help lower costs for green power generation.

Achievements and lessons learned

The project identified that up to 10MW of additional distributed solar PV could be installed on the Alice Springs grid without impacting on network variability. It also found that Geographic dispersal of PV can effectively mitigate the variability of solar PV within a network.

Final report

Investigating the impact of solar variability on grid stability (PDF 2.9MB)

More information

Media release – 10 March 2015: NT study finds reliable way to feed extra solar PV into the grid
CAT Projects – Knowledge Sharing

Contact information

Lyndon Frearson, General Manager/Principal Consultant
Email:
lyndon.frearson@catprojects.com.au