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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    University of Melbourne



    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    7 January 2019

    End date

    29 August 2021

  • Project Partners
    This DER project was completed on 29 August 2021.


This project will develop analytical techniques to assess residential solar PV hosting capacity of electricity distribution networks by leveraging existing network and customer data. This project will also produce planning recommendations to increase solar PV hosting capacity using non-traditional solutions that exploit the capabilities of PV inverters, voltage regulation devices, and battery energy storage systems.

How the project works

The project will perform detailed studies on distribution networks with different residential solar PV penetrations to capture the correlations between customer data and corresponding penetrations. Results from these studies will be used to define analytical techniques to rapidly estimate the hosting capacity of networks. The techniques will be validated using smart meter data from networks where PV penetrations are known. Planning methodologies that include the use of PV inverter capabilities, voltage regulation devices and battery systems will be developed and demonstrated through detailed network studies. The corresponding findings will be used to draw planning recommendations to cost-effectively increase the hosting capacity of distribution networks.

Area of innovation

The growing uptake of residential solar PV in Australia is bringing significant challenges to DNSPs as there are many unknowns around their networks’ ability to cope with the voltage and thermal impacts from high PV penetration. The novel analytical techniques developed by this project will make it possible to quickly estimate how much PV a network can host. Also, the planning recommendations resulting from studies that investigate non-traditional solutions will help DNSPs make use of their assets in a cost-effective way, and define suitable strategies to increase PV hosting capacity.


Developing analytical techniques will help distribution network service providers (DNSPs) to rapidly estimate the hosting capacity in their networks without the need for complex, time-consuming network studies or the adoption of generic assumptions. These techniques are expected to accelerate the processing of connection requests to encourage widespread adoption of solar PV systems.The planning recommendations from this project will also provide foundations for planning approaches (and potentially tools) that can be used by DNSPs to ensure the quick and cost-effective integration of residential solar PV across Australia.

Last updated 11 November 2022


Plotting next steps in distributed energy transformation

As Australians embrace rooftop solar at world-leading rates, work is underway to create a modern, fairer electricity system for the future.

$9.6 million to support distributed energy revolution

To support the transition to an electricity network that is increasingly powered by small-scale energy assets, ARENA has announced $9.6 million funding for 12 new projects and studies.

What are distributed energy resources and how do they work?

According to the twentieth century model of energy distribution, large power plants fuelled by coal, hydro or gas, generated electricity that was distributed via a centralised grid.

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