Evaluating Utility-Scale PV-Battery Hybrids in an Operational Model for the Bulk Power System

Venkat Durvasulu, Caitlin Murphy, Paul Denholm

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Systems that combine solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage technologies (PV-BES) are increasingly being proposed and deployed on the bulk power system. The operations and value of PV-BES systems have been extensively studied from the project developer's perspective through analyses that maximize plant-level revenue. However, PV-BES hybrids' operational characteristics are seldom studied from the perspective of bulk power system operators, who seek to optimize the performance of a suite of generation and storage assets that are connected via the transmission network. This work presents modeling approaches for representing and evaluating PV-BES hybrids in a model that optimizes operations across the bulk power system. Its novel contributions include demonstrating a technique to modify a unit commitment and dispatch model to represent the operational synergies of PV-BES hybrids. In particular, we describe the challenges and an approach for representing so-called DC-coupled PV-BES - which utilize a single bi-directional inverter - as a dispatchable resource in a commercial, production cost model (PCM), PLEXOS. We demonstrate this technique in a PCM study of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) test system, by replacing existing PV and battery generators on the test system with our PV-BES hybrids. We then pursue scenario analysis that is designed to isolate the various drivers of operational strategies for DC-coupled PV-BES hybrids, including the nature of coupling, PV penetration on the system, and varying inverter loading ratios (or degrees of over-sizing of the PV field). Results from the analysis include utilization profiles for the PV DC energy across available pathways, dispatch profiles for the battery component, and the hybrid technologies' impacts on system-wide production costs. The approach presented in this paper can be used in any PCM that is looking to study PV-BES hybrids as a resource in different power system configurations and services.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-78850


  • DC-coupled
  • hybrid
  • optimization
  • production cost model
  • PV+battery
  • system


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