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Solar energy

Real-time operational PV simulations for distribution network service providers

  • $1.01m

    ARENA Funding

  • $3.30m

    Total Project Value

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    Research and development

    Lead Organisation

    Australian National University

    Start Date

    Apr 2016

    Project Partners

    N/A

    Location

    Australian Capital Territory, Canberra

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

Research and development

Lead Organisation

Australian National University

Start Date

Apr 2016

Project Partners

N/A

Location

Australian Capital Territory, Canberra

Status

Current

This project will enhance the Regional PV Simulation System (RPSS) into a product that provides network service providers with real-time distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) simulations mapped to their electricity networks.

Need

The inherent intermittency of Australia’s 1.5 million small-scale solar PV systems can create problems on distribution networks. Maximum penetration levels of solar PV are already being reached in some areas of Australia, with long fringe-of-grid lines most vulnerable.

Current sources of solar PV system power output information are time-lagged, only allowing for reactive decision making, which is too late for effectively managing high penetration solar PV variability.

Project innovation

This project will form relationships with distribution network partners (DNSPs) to collect detailed solar PV system information and information about electrical networks. This will enable researchers to produce solar PV power output simulations mapped directly to distribution networks.

These innovative PV simulations will show the real-time solar generation across the distribution networks of participating DNSPs. These will quantify distributed solar PV power output with enough lead-time to proactively manage solar PV-induced voltage fluctuations.

The project will also deliver a modelling system that is integrated with distribution network operational systems. This will bring the research full circle by creating an applied, real-world technology that directly addresses a formidable industry challenge. This modelling system will be deployed and maintained through an ANU start-up named ?ÛÏSolcast?۝, a solar modelling and forecasting company which will service the Australian energy sector as it transitions to high penetrations of solar and storage.

Benefit

Network service providers will be able to use these simulations to manage solar PV integration challenges with solutions such as energy storage technologies and demand management. This has the potential to allow higher penetrations of solar PV on Australian electricity networks.

Contact information

Dr. Nicholas A. Engerer, Lecturer/Researcher, Australian National University

02 6125 1658

nicholas.engerer@anu.edu.au