National Grid is co-chairing a task force to look at how the increasing supply of solar photovoltaic (PV) power can be managed efficiently to provide a good deal for consumers.
The grid can accommodate up to 10GW of solar PV without changing how it is balanced.
Working alongside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), distribution network operators and the solar PV industry, National Grid is exploring the technical challenges, opportunities and costs that come with rising levels of solar PV energy, and the impact this is likely to have on ‘balancing the grid’ ie. matching supply and demand in real time.
So far, the team has concluded that the grid can accommodate up to 10GW of solar PV without changing how it is balanced. Findings also revealed that a mix of different solutions could help the grid handle even more solar PV in future as more panels are installed.
One option is designing solar PV installations so they can reduce their output on sunny days when not a lot of electricity is being used across the country. Other solutions include encouraging the use of electricity at times when PV installations are producing more energy, different methods of storing the electricity generated by solar PV, and exporting electricity abroad through interconnectors.