National Grid has confirmed its intent to trial distributed energy generators including solar PV as sources of frequency response next year.

The system operator included the trial within its Product Roadmap for Frequency Response and Reserve, published earlier today to update industry stakeholders as to its new thinking on grid balancing markets.

Within the document National Grid said it wanted to trial a market which could enable providers of frequency response that are incapable of forecasting or controlling their availability, paying specific mention to solar and wind generators.

The trial will include closer to real-time procurement that uses a “pay as clear” mechanism as opposed to the current pay-as-bid tender mechanism. This change will create new opportunities for industry to participate in frequency response markets. This, National Grid hopes, could lower barriers to entry, increase competition and, as a result, reduce prices the SO pays for flexibility.

It comes from feedback to National Grid’s System Needs and Procurement Strategy document published earlier this year. Respondents to the consultation bemoaned a various barriers to entry which, if removed, could make markets more competitive than they historically have been.

The trial will procure frequency response at the week ahead stage initially before possibly moving to day ahead parameters once the market is better understood.

Further details on the trial are currently unavailable, but National Grid is holding discussions with auction platform providers with the aim of scoping for a trial to take place next year funded by the Network Innovation Allowance Scheme.

It is hoped that a full cost-benefit assessment will be borne from the trial’s results and feed into a decision over whether or not there is further potential for the distributed energy resources to participate in frequency response markets in the future.

National Grid currently expects to make a decision in Q4 2019 after the trial is complete.

The trial will come as good news to solar generators in a year that National Grid was forced to contend with the growing role of the technology in the UK’s energy system. A number of generation records were broken earlier this year as PV capacity soared, raising the prospects of negative pricing and solar forcing more traditional generators off the grid.