Current thinking considers that PV output curtailment is a last resort measure to be avoided. In this article, we argue that supply-shaping, achieved through proactive curtailment associated with PV oversupply, is actually critical to achieving intermittency mitigation and delivering firm PV generation at the lowest cost.

We investigate the premium to transform a low-cost, but intermittent solar kWh into a firm, effectively dispatchable kWh. We show that a fundamental ingredient of minimizing this premium is to optimally overbuild and, as necessary and appropriate, curtail PV generation. Drawing on a case study in the State of Minnesota, we show that firm, high-penetration-ready PV generation could be achieved at a production cost at or below current conventional generation, especially when optimally coupled with wind generation.

We conclude with a recommendation that in order to achieve this lowest cost firm generation potential, proactive curtailment strategies should inform future transactional PV remuneration systems.

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