Full Title: Distribution Grid Impacts of Community Solar
Author(s): Miguel Heleno, Juan Pablo Carvallo, Alan Valenzuela, Greg Leventis, Chandler Miller and Jeff Deason
Publisher(s): Department of Energy
Publication Date: September 10, 2023
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Community solar (CS) projects often face uncertain interconnection costs and fees associated with distribution grid infrastructure upgrades required to connect the project.
These costs can determine the economic viability of a CS project, but they are difficult to assess. Cost uncertainty can discourage new projects and prevent communities from accessing the benefits of community solar projects. At the same time, CS deployment strategies hold potential to defer or avoid some distribution costs due to new loads.
This is the first analysis that has systematically studied the technical impacts of CS projects on a wide range of distribution feeders using state-of-the-art optimization and power flow tools. The analysis employs Berkeley Lab’s novel Least-cost Optimal Distribution Grid Expansion (LODGE) model, a deterministic version of the REPAIR model, that optimally upgrades hundreds or even thousands of distribution circuits or feeders. This is the first application of the LODGE model.