Indian electricity distribution companies need not fear large expansion of Rooftop Solar PV

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with a team of experts from Energynautics, GSES, BSES Rajdhani Power Company Limited and Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited recently completed a technical study analysing the Indian electricity distribution systems for integration of high shares of rooftop PV.

The study was executed under the Indo-German bilateral cooperation project Integration of Renewable Energies in the Indian Electricity System, financed by Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Government of Germany and supported by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.

The year-long study investigated four electricity distribution feeders analysing the impact of high penetration of rooftop PV on the voltage and loading of the feeders. Simulation results show that PV penetration levels of 75 per cent or higher of distribution transformer capacity can be implemented without having to undertake any measures to contain voltage problems or overloading. This is approximately 300 per cent higher than prescribed by regulators in most Indian states today. This is a major finding and addresses all technical concerns of distribution licensees over limits of penetration.

The results of the study were presented in a workshop series held in Delhi and Bhopal from 29-30 Aug 2017 and 01 September 2017 respectively with participation of over 50 officials from the power sector. Mr. Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary, New & Renewable Energy Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal highlighted the relevance of the study for an in-depth understanding and preparation for high shares of distributed PV in distribution grid. Mr. Joerg Gaebler, Principal Advisor, GIZ said “The study is one of its kind for India and the results are very encouraging for the Indian electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS) and for the entire Solar Rooftop sector to help overcome the fear of large additions of Solar from a technical perspective.”

Mr. M. Selvendran, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited thanked GIZ for carrying out the study in Bhopal and encouraged his team to make use of the results in the best possible way. Mr. Amal Sinha, CEO, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited in his speech said, “We have been waiting for such a study and are glad that the results have such positive impact on our commitment for promoting Solar Rooftop PV. We believe that distributed solar can bring solutions to some of our technical problems we are currently facing.”

In coordination with the MNRE, it is likely that additional DISCOMS request a similar study to be conducted for low and medium voltage grids to incorporate high shares of distributed solar energy and receive confirmation that no capital expenditures in assets are required to face national and state level solar goals to eventually reach the target of 40 GW by 2022.