Solar Plus Storage Projects In The US Await Interconnection

By the end of 2023, 1086 GW of solar projects went ahead and awaited transmission interconnection, in addition to the 503 GW of standalone storage, according to the preliminary data from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory- LBNL in California, US. The amount of storage in hybrid projects such as solar-plus-storage projects, which await the interconnection in the year end happened to be estimated at 525 GW by LBNL based on the imputed values for missing data in a scenario where the storage capacity for hybrid projects was not reported.

The data happened to be reported in a staff report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission- FERC. Solar, wind, as well as the battery storage represented nearly 95% of the total capacity in interconnection queues as of year-end 2023, the staff report remarked. Pending transmission interconnection requests at the year-end of 2023 elevated to 11,841, as per the LBNL’s preliminary data, thereby representing a 16% increase since the year-end of 2022 and over a four-fold increase since the year-end of 2019. The FERC staff report goes on to include the summaries of transmission plans that happened to be submitted by grid operators to FERC in 2023, including plans when it comes to transmission that could help in bringing the solar and storage projects online.

The transmission plan coming from California grid operator CAISO had in it 21 transmission projects with a cost of $5.5 billion so as to help meet renewable generation requirements set by the state regulators. Some of the projects would enable the importation of wind power from outside CAISO. MISO, the mid-continent grid operator, planned 142 transmission projects in order to interconnect new generators. The PJM grid operator, which goes on to stretch from Chicago to New Jersey, went on to identify 93 transmission projects with a cost of $180 million so as to support generation seeking interconnection, and also assess 227 supplemental projects that were put forward by the transmission owners, according to the report, which would go on to cost $2.4 billion.

The ERCOT grid region in the state of Texas added the most solar of any region in 2023. It is worth noting that the CAISO and ERCOT grid regions account for most of the growth in transmission-connected batteries over the past three years.