Grid capacity restrictions hit solar

1024px-Flat_Holm_PV_solar_array_near_FarmhouseAs a community energy scheme opened in Bristol last week there could be problems getting other such schemes off the ground due to grid capacity restrictions.   This is very much the case in SW England and Wales.  It seems that solar in particular has been a victim of its own success leading to warnings of grid capacity restrictions.  The local owners of the low voltage distribution network have warned that even large rooftop systems (not domestic but commercial) may be refused connections.  I’ve always been a bit surprised that large wind was warned it could be subject to grid capacity restrictions, but so many of these large solar schemes have sailed through (some estimate 1.6GWp in the first quarter of 2015 alone) without any problems.  An internet search finds the same thing happening all over the world from Japan to California.

The problem is the grid was never designed with small scale generation in mind but a few very large power plants with the grid connecting these to demand.  Now increasingly electricity is flowing in all directions.  On sunny days the grid locally cannot cope.  Since solar is so easy and fast to install, its the fall guy.

Neil

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