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Distributed energy resources

Advanced Planning of PV-Rich Distribution Networks Study

  • $204k

    ARENA Funding

  • $497k

    Total Project Value

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    Advancing renewables

    Lead Organisation

    University of Melbourne

    Start Date

    Jan 2019

    Project Partners

    Ausnet

    Location

    Victoria

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

Advancing renewables

Lead Organisation

University of Melbourne

Start Date

Jan 2019

Project Partners

Ausnet

Location

Victoria

Status

Current

Summary

This project will develop analytical techniques to assess residential solar PV hosting capacity of electricity distribution networks by leveraging existing network and customer data. This project will also produce planning recommendations to increase solar PV hosting capacity using non-traditional solutions that exploit the capabilities of PV inverters, voltage regulation devices, and battery energy storage systems.

How the project works

The project will perform detailed studies on distribution networks with different residential solar PV penetrations to capture the correlations between customer data and corresponding penetrations. Results from these studies will be used to define analytical techniques to rapidly estimate the hosting capacity of networks. The techniques will be validated using smart meter data from networks where PV penetrations are known. Planning methodologies that include the use of PV inverter capabilities, voltage regulation devices and battery systems will be developed and demonstrated through detailed network studies. The corresponding findings will be used to draw planning recommendations to cost-effectively increase the hosting capacity of distribution networks.

Area of innovation

The growing uptake of residential solar PV in Australia is bringing significant challenges to DNSPs as there are many unknowns around their networks’ ability to cope with the voltage and thermal impacts from high PV penetration. The novel analytical techniques developed by this project will make it possible to quickly estimate how much PV a network can host. Also, the planning recommendations resulting from studies that investigate non-traditional solutions will help DNSPs make use of their assets in a cost-effective way, and define suitable strategies to increase PV hosting capacity.

Benefit

Developing analytical techniques will help distribution network service providers (DNSPs) to rapidly estimate the hosting capacity in their networks without the need for complex, time-consuming network studies or the adoption of generic assumptions. These techniques are expected to accelerate the processing of connection requests to encourage widespread adoption of solar PV systems.The planning recommendations from this project will also provide foundations for planning approaches (and potentially tools) that can be used by DNSPs to ensure the quick and cost-effective integration of residential solar PV across Australia.

Contact information

Luis (Nando) Ochoa, Professor of Smart Grids and Power Systems

luis.ochoa@unimelb.edu.au