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Performance of a dynamically controlled inverter in a photovoltaic system interconnected with a secondary network distribution system

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6 Author(s)
Michael H. Coddington ; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado, USA ; Benjamin D. Kroposki ; Thomas Basso ; Damian Berger
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In 2008, a 300 kWpeak photovoltaic (PV) system was installed on the rooftop of the Colorado Convention Center (CCC). The installation was unique for the electric utility, Xcel Energy, as it had not previously permitted a PV system to be interconnected on a building served by the local secondary network distribution system (network). The PV system was installed with several provisions; one to prevent reverse power flow, another called a dynamically controlled inverter (DCI), that curtails the output of the PV inverters to maintain an amount of load supplied by Xcel Energy at the CCC. The DCI system utilizes current transformers (CTs) to sense power flow to insure that a minimum threshold is maintained from Xcel Energy through the network transformers. The inverters are set to track the load on each of the three phases and curtail power from the PV system when the generated PV system current reaches 95% of the current on any phase. This is achieved by the DCI, which gathers inputs from current transformers measuring the current from the PV array, Xcel, and the spot network load. Preventing reverse power flow is a critical technical requirement for the spot network which serve this part of the CCC. The PV system was designed with the expectation that the DCI system would not curtail the PV system, as the expected minimum load consumption was historically higher than the designed PV system size. However, the DCI system has operated many days during the course of a year, and the performance has been excellent. The DCI system at the CCC was installed as a secondary measure to insure that a minimum level of power flows to the CCC from the Xcel Energy network. While this DCI system was intended for localized control, the system could also reduce output percent if an external smart grid control signal was employed. This paper specifically focuses on the performance of the innovative design at this installation; however, the DCI system could also be used for new s- art grid-enabled distribution systems where renewables power contributions at certain conditions or times may need to be curtailed.

Published in:

Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2011 37th IEEE

Date of Conference:

19-24 June 2011