Genscape Begins Monitoring Solar Farms in West Texas

Blog October 17, 2018

Genscape recently added monitors on our first solar farm in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market in October 2018. Our monitoring of SolaireHolman is a milestone, marking the first time that market participants will be able to see real-time utility-scale solar output in ERCOT on both PowerRT and Nodal Market Insights. SolaireHolman is a 50 MW unit in Brewster County in West Texas. The unit, otherwise known as LASSO_GEN, currently accounts for 2.8 percent of available Texas solar capacity, which is enough to power 5,300 homes at full capacity. It is projected that 2.5 GW of additional solar generation will be installed in ERCOT by 2020, bringing the total to nearly 4 GW of cumulative capacity. Monitoring these type of units is becoming increasingly more crucial as both demand and generation continue to rise in the Far West.

SolaireHolman Solar Project

Our monitoring of SolaireHolman will not only give insight into the ever-growing volume of West Texas solar generation but will also shed light on solar driven congestion. This past summer, SolaireHolman contributed to over $2,000,000 in cumulative Real-Time (RT) shadow prices for various transmission constraints in West Texas, such as Linterna-Solstice. This particular constraint is strong when generation from the SolaireHolman unit combines with high output from neighboring windfarms.

Nodal Market Insights

With eyes on this new facility, industry players can now better understand and analyze how the presence of utility-scale solar impacts the ERCOT grid. During daylight hours (HE 9-19), power market participants can see the moment when overloading of the sparse West Texas transmission occurs due to the output at solar farms, such as SolaireHolman. As lines are overloaded, pockets of congestion appear like the Linterna-Solstice constraint. Over the course of the evening the story changes and industrial load remains strong while solar output wanes, causing a supply shortage and bolstering the potential for short-term price spikes. Analysts and traders without this insight must guess and infer the drivers and duration of these market events.

As the volume of solar generation in this region continues to grow, you need to be prepared. By leveraging both Genscape’s PowerRT and Nodal Market Insights you can have a clear lens into the grid. Our real-time data allows you to strengthen your position and to pivot quickly when necessary. To learn more about Genscape’s PowerRT, please click here.