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Energies 2017, 10(8), 1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10081220

The UK Solar Farm Fleet: A Challenge for the National Grid?

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
This paper is an extension of work originally reported in “Palmer, D.; Koubli, E.; Betts, T.R.; Gottschalg, R. Space and time analysis of irradiation variation across the UK: A 10 year study of solar farm yield. In Proceedings of the 12th Photovoltaic Science, Applications and Technology Conference, Liverpool, UK, 6–8 April 2016”.
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Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 14 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract

Currently, in the UK, it is widely believed that supply from renewable energy sources is capable of reaching proportions too great for the transmission system. This research investigates this topic objectively by offering an understanding of year-to-year and area-to-area variability of PV (photovoltaic) performance, measured in terms of specific yield (kWh/kWp). The dataset is created using publicly available data that gives an indication of impact on the grid. The daily and seasonal variance is determined, demonstrating a surprisingly good energy yield in April (second only to August). The geographic divergence of generation from large scale solar systems is studied for various sized regions. Generation is compared to demand. Timing of output is analyzed and probability of achieving peak output ascertained. Output and demand are not well matched, as regards location. Nevertheless, the existing grid infrastructure is shown to have sufficient capacity to handle electricity flow from large scale PV. Full nameplate capacity is never reached by the examples studied. Although little information is available about oversizing of array-to-inverter ratios, this is considered unlikely to be a major contributor to grid instability. It is determined that output from UK solar farms currently presents scant danger to grid stability. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar farm; national grid stability; photovoltaic performance; solar resource assessment; solar mapping solar farm; national grid stability; photovoltaic performance; solar resource assessment; solar mapping
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Palmer, D.; Koubli, E.; Betts, T.; Gottschalg, R. The UK Solar Farm Fleet: A Challenge for the National Grid? . Energies 2017, 10, 1220.

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