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As solar photovoltaic power generation becomes more commonplace, the inherent intermittency of the solar resource poses one of the great challenges to those who would design and implement the next generation smart grid. Specifically, grid-tied solar power generation is a distributed resource whose output can change extremely rapidly, resulting in many issues for the distribution system operator with a large quantity of installed photovoltaic devices. Battery energy storage systems are increasingly being used to help integrate solar power into the grid. These systems are capable of absorbing and delivering both real and reactive power with sub-second response times. With these capabilities, battery energy storage systems can mitigate such issues with solar power generation as ramp rate, frequency, and voltage issues. Beyond these applications focusing on system stability, energy storage control systems can also be integrated with energy markets to make the solar resource more economical. Providing a high-level introduction to this application area, this paper presents an overview of the challenges of integrating solar power to the electricity distribution system, a technical overview of battery energy storage systems, and illustrates a variety of modes of operation for battery energy storage systems in grid-tied solar applications. The real-time control modes discussed include ramp rate control, frequency droop response, power factor correction, solar time-shifting, and output leveling.
Date of Publication: June 2012