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Peak Shaving with PV
Researchers: Richard Perez
One of the perceived problems of the solar resource (as well as other natural resource) is that the resource is not controllable/dispatchable
as, say, a gas turbine would be. Therefore in places such as New York Sate where cloudy days are not infrequent, the resource is commonly
perceived as having no capacity credit. Capacity characterizes the resource's contribution to an electric utility's reserve. For instance,
if a 100 MW hydro power plant is built, this will add close to 100 MW of new generating capacity on the grid that a utility can count on
for deployment. For PV without capacity credit, deploying 100 MW of PV would be perceived as adding zero new generating capacity for the grid.
The economic implications of this finding are not trivial. Combined with the high retail value of electrical power (energy and demand)
in the northeast, the high effective capacity of PV makes this region one of the most promising grid connected PV markets in the country
almost on par with California and Hawaii.
It does so by acting on end-use settings (e.g. building temperature set points) to make up for any PV output deficit (e.g., caused by clouds or sunset) at time of critical peak demand. The amount of end-use discomfort necessary to guarantee firm PV capacity is very small - for instance guarantying 100% peak time PV capacity in New York with 10% PV penetration on the City's grid could be achieved with a total end=use discomfort of 15-degree hours for the entire cooling season, with a maximum one-day burden of 5 degree-hours. SLC beta prototypes are currently being tested in Albany and Ithaca in collaboration with AWS Scientific and Powerlight and under funding from NYSERDA and USDOE/NREL.