Nice Grid: the first smart solar district The Alpes-Maritimes administrative department in southeast France lies on the periphery of the transmission grid, which is a structural handicap for its electricity supply. However, it also has an abundant supply of renewable energy, especially solar. The power grid architecture therefore needs to be adapted to accommodate significant production from renewable—but intermittent and dispersed—energy sources, along with a focus on charging electric vehicles as part of a more long-term outlook. Headed by ERDF , Nice Grid is the first smart solar district demonstration project in Europe and is part of the Grid4EU programme, which aims to test innovative electricity management solutions over a four-year period.
Several hundreds of residential and business customers in Carros are participating in the EDF test project. Equipped with solutions enabling voluntary load shedding, these new prosumers can achieve proactive energy control during periods of peak demand by following the operator's recommendations. In addition, an "islanding" zone—with its own photovoltaic generation capacity and storage facilities—can be disconnected from the main grid during a time-limited period. This microgrid can independently ensure continuity of service while maintaining the required voltage and frequency along power lines.
Carros offers a total installed capacity of 2.5 MWp. The integration and management of the 600 kWc installed capacity of the Nice Grid 7 solar districts is a world first. The system put in place by the Nice Grid consortium partners draws on three key factors to successfully balance supply and demand in the district:
- next-day forecasts to compare solar energy production with consumption;
- battery storage at key network nodes to offset any intermittency in the supply of solar energy and absorb consumption peaks;
- incentivising residential and industrial consumers to better manage their consumption.