Representing DC-Coupled PV+Battery Hybrids in a Capacity Expansion Model

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Recent technology cost and performance improvements and the federal investment tax credit (ITC) have driven growing interest in coupling solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery systems. Combining these technologies into co-located or hybridized PV+battery systems has the potential to lower costs and increase energy output relative to multiple independent systems. In this work, we provide an overview of PV+battery systems and demonstrate methods for incorporating them into NREL’s Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) capacity expansion model. Although the methods are applied to a specific model, we anticipate that the approaches used here can be useful for informing PV+battery method development for other capacity expansion models. The implemented method relies heavily on the native representations of PV and battery technologies; therefore, the focus of this work is on capturing and parameterizing the interactions between them for a configuration in which the PV and battery technologies share a single bi-directional inverter. This work also demonstrates the impacts of including PV+battery systems in the ReEDS optimization for the conterminous United States through 2050. In particular, we perform parametric sensitivities for input assumptions that are uncertain and expected to influence PV+battery deployment levels, including (a) the cost of PV+battery systems relative to independent PV and battery systems, (b) the battery component’s qualification for the ITC, and (c) future cost trajectories for PV and battery systems. We find that PV+battery deployment could occur throughout the conterminous United States if there are cost savings associated with DC coupling PV and battery technologies. If even modest (5%) cost savings can be achieved (through a shared inverter and balance-of-system costs), then approximately one-third of utility-scale PV deployment through 2050 adopts the DC-coupled hybrid configuration, resulting in total PV+battery deployment that exceeds the magnitude of PV+battery projects in U.S. interconnection queues in 2020. If greater cost savings can be achieved through DC coupling (e.g., due to a growing amount of shared balance-of-system costs, reduced financial risk, or modularity) or more rapid cost and performance improvements are realized for PV and battery technologies, then total PV+battery deployment and the share of PV and battery deployment that adopts the hybrid configuration grows (to >50%). In all cases, growing PV+battery deployment primarily displaces independent PV and battery technologies, indicating the strong competition between the hybrid and independent configurations comprising technologies with similar performance characteristics.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages57
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5C00-77917


  • battery
  • capacity expansion model
  • electricity
  • hybrid
  • photovoltaic
  • ReEDS
  • solar


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