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Distributed Photovoltaics Toolkit (DPV)

The distributed PV (DPV) toolkit offers resources and guidance to support developing countries address barriers to safe, effective, and accelerated deployment of small-scale, photovoltaic systems connected at the distribution-level.

Background and context

Due in part to the low cost of photovoltaic system hardware and scalability for deployment, grid-connected distributed photovol­taic (DPV) technologies are increasingly permeating global power markets. While this trend could help substantially reduce the carbon footprint of global power generation, empower citizens across the socio-economic spectrum, and expand local PV mar­kets, there is a number of technical and policy issues—especially in countries that have limited technical resources and need to “get things right” the first time. Further, there is an added time sensi­tivity that is quite distinct to DPV in developing countries: facing unreliable and/or expensive electricity costs, consumers are no longer waiting for DPV policies, regulatory frameworks, incen­tive schemes, interconnection processes, or technical standards to deploy systems. They are simply installing them, leading to untracked and oftentimes illegal system deployment, safety issues for line workers, low-voltage network operational challenges, and a host of other issues.

 

What is the DPV toolkit?

The distributed PV (DPV) toolkit offers information and guidance materials to support developing countries address barriers to safe, effective, and accelerated deployment of DPV. For the purposes of this toolkit, DPV refers to distributed PV systems that are:

  • Connected to the distribution system of an established, centralized utility system (i.e. not microgrids or off grid systems)
  • Smaller in scale (e.g. less than 1 MW)
  • Typically connected “behind the meter” of a retail electricity customer
  • Typically (but not always), DPV is not owned or operated by a distribution utility

These characteristics pertain to other types of distributed generation (DG), as well, of which distributed PV is one type. Toolkit resources provide concise and comprehensive overviews of emerging practices for augmenting DPV programs, integrating DPV, and accelerating DPV market development.

Drawing on this toolkit, Greening the Grid also facilitates direct technical assistance tailored to the unique power system characteristics and priorities in each partner country. Some examples of technical collaboration opportunities include:

  • Development or technical review of grid codes, standards, and interconnection processes
  • Training on DPV compensation mechanisms and tariff design
  • Partnering to explore and analyze a specific DPV technical or policy issue in a partner country
  • Evaluating potential business models under various policy scenarios

The DPV toolkit is supported by the United States’ Agency for International Development (USAID).

Interested in partnering through Greening the Grid to receive technical assistance on distributed PV? Please to learn more and explore opportunities for collaboration.

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