Use of Operating Agreements and Energy Storage to Reduce Photovoltaic Interconnection Costs: Technical and Economic Analysis

Joyce McLaren, Sherin Abraham, Naim Darghouth, Sydney Forrester

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report presents an analytical methodology to identify alternative options to manage interconnection costs and streamline interconnection timelines for distribution system-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems not co-located with load. Specifically, the report details the methodology and results of an analysis that: 1. Identifies potential grid violations that would be induced by a PV system requesting interconnection to a distribution circuit; 2. Identifies multiple technically viable options for mitigating the potential violations, including infrastructure upgrades, downsizing the PV system size, curtailment of PV, and addition of battery energy storage; 3. Defines the required technical operating parameters of the system in order to mitigate all potential violations (the "Operating Envelope"); 4. Compares the economics of each option, from the PV developer's perspective. The analysis supports the ongoing evolution of interconnection standards for combined PV and energy storage systems by providing a methodology to define allowable maximum export limits during each hour. The methodology presented could be used by utilities as part of the interconnection study process, to inform negotiations with DER developers and the drafting of mutually acceptable interconnection agreements. The resulting technical operating parameters could be included as part of the interconnection service agreement (ISA) between the system owner and the utility company. The companion report to this analysis, Gill et al. (2022), details the envisioned framework for the implementation of the technical operating parameters.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-80556


  • battery storage
  • distribution grid
  • high penetration solar
  • interconnection costs
  • interconnection service agreement
  • power flow modeling
  • Rhode Island
  • solar
  • utility interconnection


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