UK trial sees solar provide voltage control services with potential to unlock 1.5GW of new capacity

Solar, wind and battery storage provided the reactive power in the project, with live trials now completed. Image: UK Power Networks.

Up to 1.5GW of new capacity could be unlocked in the south and east of England by using solar, battery storage and wind for voltage control services.

This is one of the findings of the Power Potential project, which was run by UK system operator National Grid ESO and distribution network operator UK Power Networks with the intention of helping to manage the increase in the renewable technologies seen across the country. In particular, the south and east of England have seen a significant rise in renewables, resulting in the need to unlock additional capacity through measures like the Power Potential Project.

A Distributed Energy Resources Management System was created by ZIV Automation for this, enabling the solar, storage and wind to provide reactive power, a service which maintains voltage levels to allow more energy to be transported down existing infrastructure.

As a result, academic project partner the Energy Policy Research Group found that a regional reactive power market in the south east of England could save £19.5 million by 2050 compared to the long-term alternative of investing in traditional devices and close to £100 million if rolled out across Great Britain.

Having completed live trials, National Grid ESO will use the insights to inform its Future of Reactive project looking at how to introduce a competitive market for buying reactive power across Great Britain.

Reactive power has been on the system operator’s agenda for while, and it launched a tender for reactive power absorption to solve a high voltage requirement in October 2019, while a month later Lightsource BP claimed a UK-first by providing reactive power services to National Grid ESO during nighttime hours using power generated by a solar farm.

Graham Stein, network operability manager at National Grid ESO, said that Power Potential’s output will facilitate the continued growth of renewable energy and inform the development of distribution system operator capability.

“It also demonstrates the value of challenging the perceived constraints of organisational and technical boundaries and how risks can be managed with diligence and shared ambition,” he added.

14 September 2022
Join us in London for 2 days as we look at the UK’s new landscape for utility & rooftop solar. Understand the new opportunities within this GW-plus annual market!
15 September 2022
Bifacial PV modules will be the dominant solar PV technology globally within one or two years; in the utility-scale sector, their market share is already above 70%. This webinar will provide a clear view on the successful implementation of bifacial technology, maximizing system performance and minimising LCoE.
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.
29 November 2022
PV ModuleTech EMEA in Madrid on 29-30 November 2022 will address the factors underpinning the changing PV module landscape, gathering together all the key stakeholders across the value-chain from module production to field testing. Join us for presentations from the leading players in the sector, clearly identifying the opportunities and challenges set to impact module supply to Europe and the Middle-East over the next few years.

Read Next

August 19, 2022
Chinese module manufacturer Astronergy is designing a solar PV, battery storage and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) micro-grid system for the Haining Zhengtai Industrial Park.
August 17, 2022
Lightsource bp has started construction on its 400MW Wellington North and 90MW Wunghnu solar farms in New South Wales and Victoria, respectively.
August 17, 2022
Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation (SPNEC) is planning to add a 3.5GW solar farm to its 500MW system already under construction on the Northern Filipino region of Luzon, which the company claims would make it the largest PV project in the world.
August 17, 2022
European solar developer Cero Generation has appointed Ameresco and Sunel Groups’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) subsidiary as the contractor for its 100MW solar PV project in Greece.
August 17, 2022
US President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, representing the largest climate package in US history and a major policy victory for the embattled president.
August 16, 2022
Australia’s Northern Territory has struck a deal with French energy major Total Eren to develop a 1GW green hydrogen project in the city of Darwin that will be powered by 2GW of solar PV.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 7, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
September 14, 2022
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event