by Francis Luces

Introduction                                                               

For developers of power plants, one of the important factors to consider is where and how to interconnect a plant to an existing transmission network in order to reliably deliver its full output. For conventional power plants (i.e. coal, oil, natural gas, etc.), the availability of fuel supply and environmental permitting are the main considerations for siting. In the case of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, given the availability of land area for mounting solar panels and sufficient solar irradiance, the point of interconnection (POI) to the grid can be the determining factor for siting. An assessment of the thermal capacity at potential POIs provides an effective screen for potential sites. Using transmission capacity injection analysis, developers can swiftly determine the capability of the existing network to support additional power from a new source such as a PV project. With this type of analysis, solar power project developers can know fairly early in the development process if the selected site and POI can support the plant’s output.