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Harnessing Advanced PV Inverters to Stabilize the Grid

Posted December 02, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Residential photovoltaic (PV) systems typically use "dumb" inverters to sync with the grid and will disconnect if a significant fault is detected. However, it is possible for disconnects to destabilize the grid. Fortunately, newer "smart" inverters have a greater ability to stay online and can help PV systems actually stabilize the grid. IEEE Spectrum discusses how the advanced inverters operate and reports how Hawaii is taking advantage of the technology.


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Guru

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#1

Re: Harnessing Advanced PV Inverters to Stabilize the Grid

12/02/2016 12:29 AM

Inverters are also disconnecting for safety reasons as not to load up the grid when it is being worked on. I guess the smart inverter will have to know when it is required to feed into the grid and when not.
Was it not so that a rotating mass is still required for the syncronisation?

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#2

Re: Harnessing Advanced PV Inverters to Stabilize the Grid

12/02/2016 8:51 PM

One of the problems with solar systems on the power grid is the impact on grid stability. Traditional generators on the grid have a tremendous amount of inertia and stored kinetic energy that serves to stabilize the grid against transients due to varying loads or varying sources.

A solar system with an inverter is essentially like a massless generator that furnishes power to the grid but does not contribute to the inertia and stability. Maybe smart inverters can solve this problem.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1312.6435.pdf

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#3
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Re: Harnessing Advanced PV Inverters to Stabilize the Grid

12/05/2016 12:01 PM

That's one of my peeves about GTI operation.

Not so much that it doesn't have spinning reserve but more to the point that electronically it can actually replicate the effect superbly to whatever power limits its input source can support if so programed.

But safety regulations require them to trip out and disconnect near instantaneously whenever there is the slightest power disturbance in the system that a normal spinning mass based grid tied power source would just power through until either a voltage loss tripout setpoint or over current point plus its related time out delay for said disconnect function was reached.

Years ago I designed and developed a number of very basic GTI circuits specifically aimed at being simple easy to build systems for the AE experimenters and pirate GTI crowd and put them on the internet for the world to have.

While I was doing the actual design builds and refining the circuits and control systems for the various deigns, to be as simple as possible and still work correctly with normal line power, I noticed some interesting effects I could produce with them simply based on what limits I put on their control circuits regarding the amperage and voltage related settings.

By simply making the feedback loops that limited their return voltage follow the line voltage drop and allowing the output amperage to go up to some set limit, instead of also tracking downward with the voltage drop, the effect of a spinning mass power source was easily replicable and even could be held continuously at whatever limit the input power source could support so long as the lower limit line voltage trip out point was not reached or the output amperage limit was not pushed beyond the hard trip set point.

Spinning mass voltage sag /current surge characteristics could be simulated perfectly with a full solid state electronic power feedback source!

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