Communities and businesses were invited to get involved in OpenLV, the groundbreaking project that made local electricity data openly available.

The OpenLV project installed LV-CAP™ platforms in 80 Low Voltage (LV) distribution substations located in Western Power Distribution’s (WPD’s) licence areas – the Midlands, the South West and South Wales. The platform could ultimately be deployed across the GB electricity network. LV-CAP™ is an open software platform that can monitor substation performance and electricity demand. The platform was designed to provide monitoring and alert services, to enable network control and automation, integrate with third party products, host apps developed by third parties and provide benefits to local communities.

More information about the OpenLV platform

The OpenLV project has investigated how the LV-CAP™ platform could be used to benefit local electricity networks, community organisations, businesses and Universities.

1: Local electricity networks

This element of the project wanted to demonstrate how the LV-CAP™ platform could benefit the local electricity network by:

OpenLV installed LV-CAP™ in 50 substations where the platform proved its capacity to monitor substation activity, perform local calculations and predictions and transmit status reports.

A further group of ten substations were selected to prove the platform was capable of active network management. This was achieved by sharing load between two adjacent substations until local demand decreased based on a signal from one of the substations.

The plot below shows that following the closing of the ALVIN Reclose™ switch at one substation, the transformer load at the supported substation (in this case St. Bartholomews illustrated by the green line) drops substantially.

2: Community Organisations

The project worked with seven community organisations to see how they could benefit from receiving data from their local substation. Each group had different objectives, specific to their community and location and these ambitions were facilitated by a web app developed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The participant organisations could configure the web app according to their own preferences and to suit their needs.

Bath and West Community Energy

Bath and West used OpenLV data in conjunction with its Solar Streets project. The community group installed PV and battery systems and was interested to measure the impact of these systems at the local substation. OpenLV data was also used to inform a series of demand reduction and peak shifting campaigns.

Exeter Community Energy

Exeter successfully developed a prototype smart phone app that it demonstrated to members of its community at a focus group meeting.

Marshfield Energy Group

The OpenLV project monitored all four substations in the village of Marshfield. This allowed the group to develop a village-wide energy strategy and develop its understanding of local capacity to host more low carbon technologies.

Owen Square Community Energy

The Owen Square Community Energy group used OpenLV data to support fundraising bids for its community heat project in Easton, Bristol. The group used the data to run financial modelling and build business cases.

Rooftop Housing Association

Rooftop Housing Association is a charitable housing association that provides affordable housing for all household types and needs. The association used the data to start conversations with its local community about their energy use.

Tamar Energy Community

Tamar used OpenLV data as part of ‘The Power is in Your Hands’ project. The group used data from its local substation in ‘Eco Clubs’ that it organised in its local junior school to introduce 7 to 10 year-olds to concepts such as carbon emissions and energy efficiency. The community group also used the data among the wider community to raise awareness about concepts like distributed energy resources and time of use tariffs.

Yealm Community Energy

Yealm Community Energy joined the project at a late stage. The community group has recently purchased a local solar farm. The data from this solar farm was successfully imported into the web app allowing it to be displayed alongside local substation data. This allowed the group to start conversations with its local community about domestic energy consumption, substation activity and local renewable generation.

Find out more from our Case Studies

3: Business and academia

The OpenLV project initially conducted a survey to gauge the level of interest in receiving LV substation data among businesses and academics either by creating an app or accessing real-time data via an API or receiving historical data. Interested organisations were then invited apply to participate in the project.

Here is an overview of what a few of our participant companies achieved:


As part of a separate initiative Egnida had installed solar PV, battery storage and smart energy and heating solutions in a group of social residences. Egnida used the OpenLV API to help optimise control strategies of the LCT and assess the impact of different control decisions on the local substation.


Haysys successfully adapted its FeederNet system, a low voltage monitoring solution, to upload data to the OpenLV system.


As part of the OpenLV project a team from IBM developed an app that could interact with a Jaguar I-PACE to control the vehicle charging if loading on a particular substation exceeded a notional limit.

Lucy GridKey

Lucy GridKey combined with Kaluza to write an app to control car charging based on transformer temperature and network capacity. The approach taken utilised an app installed on an LV-CAP™ platform in a substation to generate and relay a signal to the Kaluza back office system. Upon receipt of this car charging signal, the Kaluza back office system instructed the trial car’s rate of charging accordingly.


OrxaGrid developed an app to run on the OpenLV platform that forecasted future voltage profiles and generated alerts based on these predictions. The predictions and alerts would provide DNOs with deeper visibility of their low voltage network performance without them having to interrogate data from individual sensors.


Nortech created two apps for the OpenLV trial. The first app was an extension of its Smart MDI product. For its first app, Nortech successfully proved that Smart MDI data could be sent from a substation and uploaded into its iHost system. Nortech’s second trial developed an app which enabled data to be transferred between the LV-CAP™ platform to DNO SCADA by enabling the information to the OpenLV platform to be encoded into the DNP3 protocol.

Find out more about some of the participant organisations aims from our case studies

Find out more from our Case Studies

The following Universities used data from the OpenLV project to author research papers or presentations.

Find out more from our Case Studies

Next: Project Background