French town begins solar ‘Nice Grid’ tests

A test project in southeast France, aims to demonstrate the capabilities of a “smart solar district.”

Led by the French electricity distribution utility ERDF (part of EDF), the Nice Grid project in Carros near the French Riviera is testing how solar-powered microgrids can be managed to better control power consumption and loads. Up to 1500 residential and business customers are participating in the four-year, €30 million test.

The first demand response tests in the project began in January. Using smart meters and both voluntary and automatic consumption reduction, those tests are aimed at reducing grid loads during the peak hours of 6 to 8 pm.

As the project continues, it will also test the concept of “islanding,” in which different zones equipped with solar photovoltaic systems can be disconnected from the grid while still providing continued electricity service to customers.

The Nice Grid project includes 200 photovoltaic sites with a total capacity of 2.5 megawatts, along with 2 megawatts of battery-based energy storage. It aims to achieve up to 3 megawatts of voluntary load shedding through its various programs.


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