Improving the integration of photovoltaic generation on distribution networks via advanced control of inverters
Seuss, John Andrew
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The number of new rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations has been unprecedented in recent years and utility distribution networks are beginning to experience negative impacts caused by large amounts of distributed PV generation. In particular, distribution lines experience voltage fluctuations caused by reverse power flows and poor coordination between PV systems and existing voltage regulation. These violations limit the amount of PV that can be installed on a network since utilities must approve each new PV interconnection under the presumption that it will not adversely impact the distribution network. The first goal of the research presented in this dissertation is to investigate whether a PV installation size may be limited by any adverse effect it may have on distribution network protection. The research concludes that protection issues caused by PV can be readily detected or prevented in most cases. The focus of the research is then shifted to the study of advanced inverter functions that will aid in mitigating the impact of more common network problems caused by PV generation. Several local inverter control strategies are simulated in the quasi-static time-series (QSTS) domain on real-world distribution networks. A parametric study is performed on each inverter control strategy’s settings to determine the range of effectiveness of these advanced control functions. Lastly, several control strategies are selected to study the simultaneous control of many PV distributed throughout a distribution network to mitigate network over-voltages. Trade-offs are explored between the effectiveness, cost, and fairness of the local inverter controls and centralized control strategies that necessitate a communication infrastructure.