Representation of Solar Capacity Value in the ReEDS Capacity Expansion Model

Benjamin Sigrin, Patrick Sullivan, Robert Margolis, Eduardo Ibanez

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


An important issue for electricity system operators is the estimation of renewables' capacity contributions to reliably meeting system demand, or their capacity value. While the capacity value of thermal generation can be estimated easily, assessment of wind and solar requires a more nuanced approach due to the resource variability. Reliability-based methods, particularly assessment of the Effective Load-Carrying Capacity, are considered to be the most robust and widely-accepted techniques for addressing this resource variability. This report compares estimates of solar PV capacity value by the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) capacity expansion model against two sources. The first comparison is against values published by utilities or other entities for known electrical systems at existing solar penetration levels. The second comparison is against a time-series ELCC simulation tool for high renewable penetration scenarios in the Western Interconnection. Results from the ReEDS model are found to compare well with both comparisons, despite being resolved at a super-hourly temporal resolution. Two results are relevant for other capacity-based models that use a super-hourly resolution to model solar capacity value. First, solar capacity value should not be parameterized as a static value, but must decay with increasing penetration. This is because -- for an afternoon-peaking system -- as solar penetration increases, the system's peak net load shifts to later in the day -- when solar output is lower. Second, long-term planning models should determine system adequacy requirements in each time period in order to approximate LOLP calculations. Within the ReEDS model we resolve these issues by using a capacity value estimate that varies by time-slice. Within each time period the net load and shadow price on ReEDS's planning reserve constraint signals the relative importance of additional firm capacity.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-61182


  • capacity expansion
  • capacity value
  • ELCC
  • photovoltaics (PV)
  • ReEDS


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