Solar-plus-storage has a 99.8% capacity value in California

Solar-plus-storage has 99.8% of the capacity value of a theoretical “perfect generator” in California’s CAISO grid region, PV Magazine reports.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is a non-profit Independent System Operator serving California. It oversees the operation of California’s bulk electric power system, transmission lines, and electricity market generated and transmitted by its member utilities.

That’s the finding of a joint study commissioned by California’s three major utilities, based on a 500-MW solar farm paired with 500 MW of 4-hour storage, with a 500-MW interconnection.

A similar result emerged from a study of stand-alone storage in the PJM grid region, which found that 4 GW of 4-hour storage could provide capacity of “equivalent reliability value” to that supplied by conventional power plants in PJM (PJM Interconnection LLC is a regional transmission organization in the United States).

Both the CAISO and PJM studies were conducted by Astrapé Consulting.

The California study found solar-plus-storage capacity values in the CAISO region would gradually decline to 93.2% by 2030, as storage capacity in the region grows from 1.1 GW to 3.4 GW, based on the utilities’ resource plans. Added storage reduces the capacity value of solar-plus-storage because as storage lowers the peak load, it broadens the duration of the peak period beyond four hours.

Solar-plus-storage capacity values for Arizona and New Mexico were also calculated, starting at 99% in both states in 2022 and declining to 90.5% in both states by 2030.

California measures capacity value through the metric “effective load carrying capability,” which compares a resource to a theoretical “perfect generator.”

The California Public Utilities Commission ordered the three California utilities to conduct the study. Capacity values for solar paired with 1-hour and 2-hour storage are expected to be presented in a follow-up report by year-end.

The Astrapé study was conducted by Kevin Carden, Alex Dombrowsky and Chase Winkler.

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