As the key solution for energy sustainability this decade, the growth of installing photovoltaic (PV) systems has dramatically increased. However, the high penetration of PV systems can cause a voltage variation problem in a distribution grid. This paper proposes a model for evaluating the maximum potential for installing PV systems in an urban area under a bus voltage constraint. A PV system is considered as an energy system alternative that replaces a conventional system. Regarding the power variation, it is necessary to add a parameter that is used to evaluate the variation of PV systems in terms of a standard deviation to the PV systems' electric load curve. The installations of PV and conventional systems are determined as share solutions for each load area along a distribution network. Total power loads and variations in each load area are input to a load flow calculation to obtain each bus voltage and confirm the voltage constraint. Finally, the total PV system installations over the whole network area is maximized. The alternative PV system with battery installation is introduced to validate the model evaluation when comparing with a typical PV system without a battery, which has larger power variation. Furthermore, adjusting the sending voltage at a substation to increase the PV installation is validated using the proposed model. Copyright © 2009 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.