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Impact assessment of high penetration of rooftop PV in municipal electrical networks
Tsholoba, Mziwamadoda Timothy
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There is an increasing global trend of grid connected distributed generation, mainly based on renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic (PV) systems. The proliferation of these intermittent energy sources into the existing networks may subject the network into technical challenges such as voltage rise, equipment over-load, power quality and protection scheme violations. With increased PVDG (mainly rooftop PV) uptake occurring mostly on Low Voltage (LV) feeders, characterised by lack of network visibility and controllability, these technical challenges may be exac-erbated. In the absence of government incentive, current uptake of rooftop PVDG is reliant on customer preference and ﬁnancial means. Thus make PVDG integration on the network be randomly placed and sized, of which the network distribution operator (NDO) will have no control over. The lack of regulations and interconnection studies conducted on South African networks has resulted in a growing concern amongst util-ities on how the increasing customer-owned rooftop PV systems uptake will impact the existing networks. This study aims to investigate technical impact high penetration of rooftop PV sys-tem will have on the existing LV networks. The load ﬂow (LF) computation is pivotal in determining power system state when subjected to high penetration of rooftop PV. Monte-Carlo based Probabilistic Load Flow (PLF) was proposed and input variables were modelled using Beta probabilistic distribution function (PDF). The proposed im-pact assessment framework was applied on real LV urban residential network situated in Cape Town, South Africa. Simulations were conducted on DIgSILENT PowerFac-tory and the PDF for input variables (Load demand and PV generation) were derived from historic data. Four scenarios were simulated and system performance parameters were recorded such as; voltage magnitude, voltage unbalance factor and equipment thermal loading. Simulation results in the test network indicated thermal loading violation as the main limiting factor in urban residential network. PV system topology (either three-phase or single phase) proved to have signiﬁcant eﬀect on network hosting capacity, were higher PV penetration can be achieved for a three-phase system. Penetration level as low as 12% were recorded, which is signiﬁcantly lower than the prescribed guidelines in simpliﬁed criteria in NRS097-2-3 standard and therefore raises a concern on the relevance of this standard on all types of networks (in urban network in particu-lar). However, penetration level above NRS097-2-3 limits may be achieved depending on feeder characteristics.