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Project Name: Modeling and Control of Solar Photovoltaics for Large Grid Disturbances and Weak Grids
Funding Opportunity: Advanced Systems Integration for Solar Technologies: Situational Awareness and Resilient Solutions for Critical Infrastructure
SETO Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: Tampa, FL
SETO Award Amount: $900,000
Awardee Cost Share: $300,000

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

The goal of this project is to analyze and mitigate instabilities in the electric grid that result from major disturbances. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems require inverters to convert their direct-current output to the alternating current used on the electric grid. It is increasingly important to understand how solar PV on the grid will affect the stability of the utility system, and vice-versa. To identify and prevent potential instabilities, the project team will build new models that take the dynamic characteristics of solar generation into account.

APPROACH

The team will design analytical models suitable for dynamic simulation of the grid with integrated solar generation. They will then design schemes that include inverters to help control the grid and make PV power more stable. The schemes will inform strategies for solar and other energy sources to coordinate across the grid to enhance the stability of the grid and its ability to respond to major disturbances. The team will validate their strategies with computer simulations.

INNOVATION

This project will create efficient models for analyzing power grids that have large amounts of solar connected to inverters. These models will enable realistic simulations of real-world phenomena, which will help grid operators anticipate and plan for the impacts of large grid disturbances. The project will also produce strategies to enhance grid stability, which can be used to control inverters in utility-scale solar PV plants. The results will help grid operators add more solar capacity to the generation mix while maintaining reliable grid service, even during unexpected events.