Cost-Effectiveness of Local Distribution Tied Solar within KyMEA

Tom Harris, Walt Baldwin, Sarah Turner

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


KyMEA is a Kentucky joint action agency which provides electric transmission and energy services to eleven municipal utilities. One of KyMEA's member cities, Frankfort, has set a goal to reach 100% renewable generation for the city load by 2023 and 100% carbon free city operations and 100% renewable generation community-wide by 2030. The aim of this research was to determine if the Frankfort city government could reduce its power costs by implementing distribution tied solar while also avoiding any cross subsidization between other KyMEA member utilities or other Frankfort Plant Board customers. The project simulated the KyMEA generation portfolio and transmission system from KyMEA's cost perspective using the NREL Engage capacity expansion model. Running in operate mode , the authors used Engage to compare KyMEA's costs to operate the baseline system to its costs to operate the system with Frankfort meeting some of its load with distribution-tied PV. The cost perspective of Frankfort Plant Board, meanwhile, was simulated using Python. The simulations indicated that it would be cost-beneficial to KyMEA, i.e., that no additional costs would be borne by other members, and that it would be cost-neutral to Frankfort Plant Board for Frankfort city government to implement distribution tied utility-scale PV. The new load attributes resulting from the distribution-tied PV lowered KyMEA's cost to serve load by improving system load factor, reducing system transmission and energy costs, and increasing revenues from market energy sales.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages37
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-87697


  • community solar
  • cross subsidization
  • distributed renewable generation
  • modeling
  • production modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-Effectiveness of Local Distribution Tied Solar within KyMEA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this