Validation of PV connection assessment tool

Start date: January 2012
End date: November 2014
Low Carbon Networks Fund: £367,000


Domestic solar panels and other small-scale renewable generation are usually connected to our low voltage electricity networks without needing our consent, and without causing any significant impact on our network. This project is looking at what will happen when these forms of renewable energy become more mainstream by equipping 20 secondary substations and 10 PV installations with LV network monitoring equipment.

Increasing clusters of solar panels connected to our electricity network will increase two-way power flows on our cables and substations. Our challenge is to design smarter ways to support increasing use of small-scale distributed generation, without risking overloading the electricity network.

We plan to implement clear policy guidelines advising planners when further investigations might be necessary before connecting large clusters of solar panels to our electricity network. Having studied requests for photovoltaic (PV) connections in concentrated areas, like housing estates, we developed a draft policy. Now we are validating those guidelines.

  • Monitor PV clusters to understand the impact of them on our low voltage electricity network
  • Explore whether PV output information, held by installers, could be used by network operators
  • Investigate innovative solutions which can be applied to address network constraints
  • Validate assumptions in our draft guidelines and develop an approved policy

  • Understand how our electricity networks might perform when more renewable energy is connected
  • Develop a pragmatic connection assessment approach
  • Understand the impact of renewable generation connections and how it will stimulate innovative solutions or more traditional network reinforcements
  • Establish whether low voltage monitoring can be minimised by using PV installers’ data

The research areas that Validation of photovoltaic (PV) connection assessment tool covers are: