University of Hawaii

Electrical Engineering

Modeling and Analysis of the Effects of PV System Integration onto Existing Neighborhood Electrical Distribution Systems

Date: 2017-03-10           Add to Google Calendar
Time: 9:00am-10:00am
Location: Holmes 388
Speaker: Seth Jones, EE candidate for MS

The competing interests of utility power generation companies, residential photo-voltaic (PV) system installers, and residential PV system manufacturers has created an assortment of contradictory viewpoints concerning the capacity of electrical grids to include renewable energy expansion. A frequent conflict created within this environment is that between utility companies, who have the final authority on whether or not to grant PV system installation licenses, and individual home owners and residential developers seeking the energy savings benefits that PV systems can provide for their homes. The general explanation offered by utility companies as the basis for whether or not they grant installation licenses is their estimation of grid saturation on the secondary of the substation that the license applicant is supplied by. While the definition of when a substation has reached its saturation point will vary between utility companies, the saturation point itself is generally determined by a comparison of the estimated minimum expected load on a given substation during the hour of peak PV generation capacity to the rated power of the expected peak PV generation itself during that hour. With there being no current legal requirements for utilities to publish their actual loading or determination assumptions for saturation, home owners and residential developers currently have no established method to contradict the utility company's estimation and provide evidence that their substation can support the introduction of additional PV systems without adverse effects. The intent of this thesis is to propose a novel, bottom-up modeling approach and to outline the general requirements necessary for the repeatable creation of accurate and flexible simulations that can demonstrate the real world effects of the integration of residential PV systems onto existing electrical distribution systems.