Modelling Distributed PV to improve Power System Security

3 min

With continued investment in solar photovoltaics (PV) on homes, businesses and industrial sites, distributed PV is now a major component and influence on the secure and reliable operation of the power system. 

For the past few years, AEMO has had an ongoing program of work investigating distributed PV behaviour, how the millions of solar systems behave when there is a fault or disturbances, to incorporate this into power system security analysis.

A recently-published report Behaviour of distributor resources during power system disturbances, summarises the key findings to date and will be used as the basis for developing power system models that reflect this behaviour.

AEMO Principal Analyst Jenny Riesz, said: “The models are at the heart of ongoing work to make sure AEMO has all the tools and measures in place to operate the power system securely as levels of distributed PV continue to grow.”

AEMO is working with UNSW Sydney and solar monitoring company Solar Analytics on a three-year project, Project MATCH, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to provide insights into the optimal management of rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources on the broader electricity network.

“Project MATCH will examine the impact of contingency events, and how to strengthen the system to withstand these events and quickly return to a secure operating state,” Ms Riesz said.

“These collaborations will provide key inputs to AEMO’s power system model development, and informed changes to DER performance standards.

“The findings of Project MATCH will help us build the smarter grid we need to operate securely, safely and reliably with much higher levels of distributed generation. It’s making sure we’ve got the tools in place and can support the decisions that consumers are making to invest in these kinds of resources,” she said.

 Project MATCH is seeking collaborators to get involved and invites anyone who is interested to be a part of the project to make contact.

“This could include inverter manufacturers, network service providers, researchers, metering providers, Virtual Power Plant aggregators or other types of aggregators, or any participants that collect data on inverter behaviour, including both distributed PV, distributed batteries, and other kinds of Distributed Energy Resources.  We’re looking for collaborators in both the NEM and the SWIS” she said.

 The Project team highlighted information which could be of value, including:

  • Measurements of inverter generation, voltage, or other parameters at 1min intervals or less

  • Error flags or other data that provides information on inverter behaviour

  • High speed data measured in distribution networks, showing the conditions inverters are experiencing

  • Any other kind of data that may shed light on distributed inverter behaviour in disturbances

Ms Riesz said “As we get stronger evidence, AEMO will be able to reduce uncertainty margins, and take more targeted action to maintain power system security. With robust evidence and the right tools in place, we can safely and securely accommodate larger amounts of distributed PV in the power system."

More information can be found on online at AEMO,  University of NSW Sydney, and the ARENA websites.
The AEMO report is also available online. 

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