Modeling Methods for Capturing System Interactions of Combined Technologies: A Study of PV + Battery

Brady Cowiestoll, Jennie Jorgenson, Matthew Irish

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The costs of solar photovoltaics (PV) have been dropping in recent years, leading to increasing installations of solar PV systems and growing interest in how the technology will impact the electric grid at higher penetrations. Additionally, as battery costs decline it becomes important to understand the benefits and limitations of battery storage for the grid as well as potential benefits of co-locating battery storage and PV, particularly within the realm of future system planning. However, it is non-trivial to capture these potential benefits within a linearized capacity expansion model (CEM). This paper presents methodological developments to more fully represent the value and limitations of coupled PV and battery systems (PV + Battery) in CEMs using the Resource Planning Model (RPM), which co-optimizes capacity investments, transmission investments, and reduced-order dispatch in the Western Interconnection of North America through 2045. We use the model to simulate the evolution of the generation and transmission system under two core scenarios - a baseline scenario and a high renewable penetration scenario - coupled with sensitivities assuming low and midline PV and battery cost projections. When incorporating PV + battery, we find that it is important for CEMs to capture the ability of the coupled technology to provide firm capacity and reduce expected curtailment, compared to independent systems. These interactions can have even more dramatic impacts at higher solar penetrations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5C00-79769


  • battery
  • capacity expansion modeling
  • PV
  • PV hybrid
  • solar


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