UK PV GRID Workshop - April 24th, 2014 - London
Organizer: Solar Trade Association
Date: 24 April 2014
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Venue: Osborne Clarke office, One London Wall, London
The Uk PV GRID workshop took place on the 24th of April, 2014. There were 16 participants, including experts and representatives from, distribution network operators (DNOs), the UK national Grid, Ofgem the national regulatory authority, solar farm developers and experts in grid connection.
The opening session provided an overview of the PV GRID project from Oliver Franz from RWE, who introduced the audience to its scope, logic, approach and overall findings and results. The session initially went through all the barriers that had been highlighted by the Eclareon market survey, which demonstrated that the barriers which were of earlier importance one year ago had now changed in priority following the UK’s rapid deployment of large scale solar projects. The meeting was chaired by Bob Weaver who is an independent grid consultant.
The conclusions from the workshop were summarised by the concern that within the UK there is considered to be no strategic direction with regard to the installation / deployment of PV and more specifically the associated ability of the DSO’s networks to accommodate the PV export generation. As a result of this, the UK is increasingly encountering ‘network saturation’ (voltage/thermal/fault level) relating to the connection of individual PV projects. Whilst the workshop acknowledged that accepting constrained connections may assist with gaining the initial connection it was noted that there remain associated commercial considerations (short and long term) for the PV Developers. In order to remove the barriers there will be a continuing requirement (at national level) to develop a co-ordinated and efficient network (at lowest cost) and to address the legislative and technical barriers that are currently detrimental to the successful development of PV projects.
In subsequent sessions the group reprioritised the barriers acknowledging that the UK has enjoyed a period of strong development due, in part, to a favourable legislative regime and a network that has had the latent capacity to absorb distributed generation without the requirement for extensive reinforcement or modification. Going forward, grid saturation would become an increasingly greater problem for deployment of further capacity.
One DNO and a UK developer are currently trialing the impact of a 1MW storage project on a solar farm. This was presented at the workshop, but the findings will not be made public for a 6-12 months. Innovation in storage, and sufficient case studies will be required to ensure adoption of this solution from both the DNO’s and developers perspective.