Practices

Spatial representation of low-voltage network hosting capacity for photovoltaic roof-top installations using an open-source tool

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Just as solar cadastres have become the norm to assess the roof-top PV potential in the last years, assessing the hosting capacity of the low-voltage network for electrical production is on the path to becoming a necessity for an efficient solar production action plan. The model developed here is a hybrid tool composed of a physical model computing results based on a real infrastructure and a statistical model using empirical rules based on frequently encountered cases.

 

The tool, built entirely on PostgreSQL/PostGIS, can be easily launched by non-experts on any set of data and on any computer, and has a low computation time. Results show that the major limit in connecting high shares of PV in existing grids is above all the low summer power consumption at noon. Key messages can be drawn from results:

 

1) hosting capacity of the existing infrastructure on the two territories studied is important but must be utilized with care by avoiding buildings located far from a substation,

2) on the long run, a deep reflexion on grid settings and planning is compulsory in order to achieve ambitious shares of renewable electricity at low marginal cost.