Event date:
May 20 2022 9:00 am

An Assessment on Quantification of Firm Capacity for Solar PV Plants

Dr. Hassan Abbas Khan
Muhammad Usman Haider
EE Board Room, Second floor, SSE Building
MS Thesis defense


The power grid is largely based on conventional resources such as nuclear power, hydropower, and fossil fuels, where the dispatch ability is within the system operator's control. However, with rapidly rising fossil fuel prices and increased awareness of climate-related challenges with greenhouse gas emissions, the world is moving towards renewable energy. Nuclear power also has its associated safety issues, and globally we see a shift from conventional production to green energy. The transition has been driven largely by solar and wind power. The inherent viability of the Renewables (such as solar resources) is not ideal and affects the reliability of any power system that does not use grid-scale storage. Therefore, with increasing solar penetration, it is important to assess its ''firm capacity'' so that the inherent variability does not critically impact the stability of the power system. This concept of firm capacity quantifies the contribution of solar plants in meeting the system's capacity to guarantee the amount of energy available to meet the percentage of peak load demand.

In this thesis, we explored available methods for firm capacity determination which are; capacity factor, Monte Carlo simulation, Z method, equivalent firm capacity (EFC), load carrying capability (LCC), and proposed a method Percentage Peak Load (PPL) method. The use of various methods also depends on the type of market structure and physical balance of the system. The PPL method for regions like Pakistan, where supply is excessive and demand varies seasonally and daily. We compared the obtained firm capacity of PV Plant with and without a grid-scale storage system. The addition of storage enhances the firm capacity increase through increased power contribution towards the grid during stress hours at a high economic cost to the system. The cost-benefit analysis of the system is also performed for the system.

Evaluation Committee 

Dr. Hassan Abbas Khan (supervisor)

Dr. Nauman Zaffar Butt (evaluator)