Demand Shifting as a Profitable Strategy for Solar Plant Operators
As solar electricity generation increases, the daytime net load (total load less solar generation) decreases, reducing prices in the middle of the day. These low prices reduce motivation to invest in more solar electricity. In this study, the correlation between net load and price is quantified on a seasonal average basis, and used to predict resulting hourly price changes if demand can be shifted from evening peak hours to mid-day when solar generation is greatest. The results suggest such a strategy will be of economic benefit to solar generators by increasing the price at mid-day for all electricity delivered, while reducing the price and thus total expenditures for energy during evening peak hours, with a net overall savings for energy consumers. These financial benefits motivate solar plant owners and developers to promote load-shifting, both to increase the revenue from current solar plants and to create demand for more solar plants.