Drivers of the Resource Adequacy Contribution of Solar and Storage for Florida Municipal Utilities
Solar’s variable generation limits its contribution to reliably meeting peak demand, or its resource adequacy contribution. Energy storage is a leading option to increase solar’s resource adequacy contribution, yet the contribution from different configurations of solar and storage is not widely understood. We develop methods for exploring the primary drivers of an estimate of the resource adequacy contribution of solar and storage, and we apply the methods to a case study in Florida, where demand peaks in winter and summer. We find that the portion of solar nameplate capacity that contributes to resource adequacy—its capacity credit—is less than 50% and that it declines with increasing solar penetration. The capacity credit of storage, even though it is fully controllable by the system operator, strongly depends on the duration of storage. The capacity credit of 1 hour of storage can be less than the capacity credit of solar. Achieving a 90% capacity credit requires at least 4–5 hours of storage when storage capacity is small relative to the system peak. As storage deployment increases to 20% of the peak demand, 9 hours—and sometimes more than 10 hours—of storage are needed to achieve a 90% capacity credit. Increased solar deployment at the system level can increase storage’s capacity credit. Directly pairing solar and storage can also impact the capacity credit. Storage with a power rating similar to the solar inverter rating loses capacity credit when coupled with solar if its duration is more than 1–2 hours, because storage competes with solar for use of the inverter. On the other hand, there is no reduction in capacity credit when the storage is small relative to the solar inverter. The approach and tools developed here for exploratory analysis can be useful for many other utilities and regions grappling with similar preliminary questions, prior to evaluation of specific cases using more detailed and resource-intensive modeling.