Smart Energy Technologies & Energy Storage
Aim/Objective: Solar + storage is a viable alternative for consideration in a regulatory non-wires alternative (NWA) analysis to replace traditional utility investment. This is accomplished using an integrated data platform that aggregates load, generation, and infrastructure data alongside solar + storage analytics to produce avoided load shapes and a determination if the distributed energy resource (DER) behavior adequately serves the distribution need.
Methods: The following methods will be discussed as part of this analysis: 1) ingestion of time-series datasets on load and distributed generation; 2) probable solar + storage adoption based on customer bill reduction; 3) a comparison of the modified net load to determine whether the non-wired alternative is feasible.
Results: The results show a rank order of parcels likely to benefit from adding storage to their existing solar systems, the estimated hourly MW reduction achievable per feeder, and analysis of whether solar + storage projects will sufficiently meet system needs to fully defer the wires upgrade. This analysis is beneficial to both regulators and utilities in determining whether DERs can replace some types of traditional wires infrastructure. Our study indicates that solar + storage certainly can for some proposed wires projects, where the identified need is for additional distribution capacity to meet projected load growth.
Conclusion: While residential solar + storage adoption continues to grow at a rapid rate, utility load growth forecasts and distribution planning efforts have not kept pace, so that DER solutions are often not appropriately valued to replace traditional wires upgrades. The analysis shows one way to evaluate how storage can potentially mitigate local demand on specific utility infrastructure, and whether the identified distribution capacity need is reduced sufficiently so that the proposed substation upgrade is no longer necessary. This analysis can provide a pathway for utilities or regulators to determine how to target procurement for NWA resources, based on their location. This analysis also provides a potential means for 3rd party providers to apply for aggregated DER programs and target specific customers to meet that MW reduction required.