Overcoming Voltage Issues Associated with Integration of Photovoltaic Resources in the Electric Grid
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Power generation from solar energy has significantly increased, and the growth is projected to continue in the foreseeable future. The main challenge of dealing with solar energy is its intermittent nature. The received irradiation energy of the sun on the earth's surface can fluctuate in a matter of seconds and cause voltage issues to power systems. Considering the high growth rate of solar photovoltaic (PV) resources, it is essential to be prepared to encounter and manage their high penetration levels. Currently, simplified approaches are used to model the impacts of cloud shadows on power systems. Using outdated standards also limits the penetration levels more than required. Approximately 40% of the new PV installations are residential, or installed at a low voltage level. Currently, all components between utility distribution transformers and customers/loads are either ignored or modeled with oversimplification. Furthermore, large PV systems require a considerable amount of land. However, point sensor models are currently used to simulate those systems. With a point model, the irradiance values measured at a point sensor are used to represent the output of a large PV system. However, in reality, clouds cover photovoltaic resources gradually and if the solar arrays are widespread over a large geospatial area, it takes some time for clouds to pass over the solar arrays. Finally, before 2014, participation of small-scale renewable resources was not allowed in controlling voltage. However, they can contribute significantly in voltage regulation. The main objective of this dissertation is to address the abovementioned issues in order to increase the penetration levels as well as precisely identify and locate voltage problems. A time-series analysis approach is used in modeling cloud motion. Using the time-series approach, changes of the received irradiation energy of the sun due to cloud shadows are simulated realistically with a Cloud Motion Simulator. Moreover, the use of the time-series approach allows implementation of new grid codes and standards, which is not possible using the old step change methods of simulating cloud impacts. Furthermore, all electrical components between utility transformers and customers are modeled to eliminate the inaccuracy due to using oversimplified models. Distributed PV models are also developed and used to represent large photovoltaic systems. In addition, the effectiveness of more distributed voltage control schemes compared to the traditional voltage control configurations is investigated. Inverters connect renewable energy resources to the power grid and they may use different control strategies to control voltage. Different control strategies are also compared with the current practice to investigate voltage control performance under irradiation variations. This dissertation presents a comprehensive approach to study impacts of solar PV resources. Moreover, simulation results show that by using time-series analysis and new grid codes, as well as employing distributed PV models, penetration of solar PV resources can increase significantly with no unacceptable voltage effects. It is also demonstrated that detailed secondary models are required to accurately identify locations with voltage problems.
- Doctoral Dissertations