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The operation of photovoltaic (PV) units connected to the grid is characterized by several uncertainties due to the number of currently operating units, the points where these units are sited, the exported power, and the injection of harmonic currents. The objective of this paper is to investigate the impact of the penetration of PV units in the low-voltage (LV) network. Thus, a model has been developed for the computation of load flows, harmonics, and voltages in the feeders. A PV panel is modeled as an irradiance-driven current generator, with an embodied maximum power point (MPP) tracking algorithm; it is connected to the network via electronic switches that represent the PV inverter. Simulations are performed with PSIM and Harmoniques simulator packages. Results from the simulated model are validated with data acquired from field measurements and bibliography. Finally, the acceptable penetration level of PV systems is investigated for several scenarios, depending on the topology of the LV network, the number, size, and locations of loads and PV units.
Date of Publication: April 2011