# APPLICATION NOTE. Increasing PV Hosting Capacity on LV Secondary Circuits with the Gridco System empower TM Solution

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1 APPLICATION NOTE Increasing PV Hosting Capacity on LV Secondary Circuits with the Gridco System empower TM Solution

3 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION LV Secondary Hosting Capacity To better understand secondary hosting capacity, it is best to look at an example. Figure 1 shows one typical secondary network layout consisting of two chains of four nodes each. Two other common secondary configurations are also examined in Appendix 1, with similar results. Figure 1: Double-chain secondary network For the purposes of this study, the hosting capacity of this secondary network is defined as the number of nodes (out of a maximum of eight nodes), which can each host 8 kw of PV. There are two constraints on the hosting capacity: Voltage constraint: the voltage at any PCC must not exceed 1.05 p.u. (5% above the nominal service voltage). Capacity constraint: the reverse power flow through the transformer must not exceed 125% of the transformer s kva rating. Likewise, the current through each conductor must not exceed 125% of its ampacity rating. (The 125% factor has been chosen to reflect the widespread practice of allowing some overloading at peak times.) The two constraints share the same worst-case scenario the case of peak reverse power flow, i.e. maximum PV output (8 kw for each node with PV) and light load (defined as 0.5 kw per node in this example). For this example, a 50 kva transformer has been used, which is a standard size that will tolerate an acceptable 125% overload during peak export. Conductors have been sized to allow all eight nodes to each host 8 kw PV at unity Power Factor (PF) without overload of more than 125%. With respect to the voltage constraint, the PCC voltage is the sum (in p.u.) of the MV voltage at the site and the secondary voltage rise due to reverse power flow through the secondary conductors and transformer. While the secondary voltage rise can be calculated from the examples, the MV voltage is an independent variable, determined by primary-feeder-wide events and largely unaffected by what happens in the secondary network. Therefore, the hosting capacity is best described as a function of the MV voltage seen by this secondary network. Figure 2 shows the hosting capacity of the double-chain network. The base case represents the network as shown in Figure 1, and as the bars for the base case show, hosting capacity rapidly decreases from eight nodes (at MV = 1 p.u.) to zero nodes (at MV = 1.04 p.u. or above), due to the voltage constraint. For example, if this network were situated at a point in the primary feeder with maximum MV voltage of 1.00 p.u., its hosting capacity is already at maximum (all eight nodes can host PV) without any further 3

4 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION enhancements. However, if this network were situated at a point in the primary feeder where MV voltage is expected to be high during times of feeder-wide maximum PV and light load, then its hosting capacity will be severely limited, and various mitigation strategies must be considered before additional PV generation may be permitted. The other bars in Figure 2 represent several sample techniques for mitigation of high voltages from PV generation: XF 100 upgrading the transformer from 50 kva to 100 kva cond 4/0 upgrading the main conductor from 1/0 AWG to 4/0 AWG XF + cond upgrading both the transformer and the main conductor as above PV PF 0.9 (or 0.8) programming each PV (smart) inverter to operate at power factor (PF) 0.9 or 0.8, i.e. sourcing real power but consuming reactive power (in an attempt to bring down voltages) IPR/PRT deploying Gridco Systems In-line Power Regulators or Power Regulating Transformers Each mitigation technique improves hosting capacity, but their effectiveness varies widely, with the transformer upgrade being least effective and the IPR/PRT being most effective in this example. Note that in the cases where PV is sinking reactive power at a power factor of 0.9 or 0.8, the additional reactive power causes increased current at the (50 kva) transformer. As a result, the hosting capacity in this scenario is limited by the transformer apparent power rating to 7 or 6 nodes, respectively, even at low MV voltages. Figure 2: Hosting capacity of the double-chain network As shown in Figure 2, the IPR/PRT achieves maximum hosting capacity (i.e. all 8 nodes can host PV), regardless of MV voltage. This is because the IPR/PRT acts as a fast LV voltage regulator, with a +/- 10% range. In other words, as long as the MV voltage is p.u., the IPR/PRT (installed at the LV bus or integrated with the transformer) can keep its output (load-side) LV voltage at 1 p.u. When added to the worst-case voltage rise (due to secondary conductors only since the IPR sits behind the transformer and the PRT is integrated with the transformer), this regulated voltage maintains all PCC voltages below 1.05 p.u. In 4

6 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION Appendix 1: Hosting Capacity in Single-chain and Star Networks Aside from the double chain sample configuration discussed in the main body of this application note, two other common configurations are discussed here. The first is a single chain secondary, with customers distributed along a single LV backbone, and the second is a star secondary, with each customer connected to a dedicated service drop running from the LV bus of the distribution transformer. These configurations are illustrated in Figures 3 and 4. Figure 3: Single-chain secondary network Figure 4: Star secondary network Figures 5 and 6 show the hosting capacities of the single-chain and star networks, as functions of MV voltage and under different mitigation techniques. Note that the reconductoring being considered in each network is different: Double-chain network: main conductor 1/0 AWG 4/0 AWG Single-chain network: main conductor 300 kcmil 400 kcmil Star network: service drop 4 AWG 1/0 AWG. Note that there is no main conductor in the star network, and so the service drop is being upgraded. This is likely to be very expensive in this example 6

7 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION as it entails replacing 300 feet of conductor for each of eight nodes with connected PV, for a total of 2400 feet. Figure 5: Hosting capacity of single-chain network Figure 6: Hosting capacity of star network 7

8 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION As shown in Figures 5 and 6, the IPR/PRT once again achieves maximum hosting capacity at all MV voltage values between p.u., because of its capability to decouple LV and MV voltages. Another interesting observation is that, comparing all three networks, operating PV smart inverters at nonunity PF is most effective in the single-chain network and least effective in the star network. This is a direct consequence of the fact that the single-chain network has the highest aggregate (transformer + conductor) X/R ratio (reactance to resistance ratio) and the star network has the lowest aggregate X/R ratio. 8

9 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH EMPOWER TM SOLUTION Appendix 2: Comparing Mitigation Techniques by their Voltage Effects Fundamentally, if the PCC voltage constraint is limiting PV hosting, then each mitigation technique is an attempt to decrease the secondary voltage rise, so that the secondary network can accommodate a combination of more PV and higher MV voltage. Therefore, another way to compare the different mitigation techniques is to investigate how much each technique decreases the secondary voltage rise. The secondary voltage rise caused by full PV deployment (with all eight nodes hosting 8 kw of PV each) for all three networks is shown in the following table. The figures in parentheses are the calculated improvement (i.e. decrease in voltage) achieved by various mitigation techniques compared to the base case. Mitigation technique Single-chain network: secondary voltage rise Double-chain network: secondary voltage rise Star network: secondary voltage rise Base case (no mitigation) 5.2% 4.5% 4.6% Transformer upgrade 50kVA 100kVA Reconductoring (various options depending on network) Transformer upgrade + reconductoring PV smart inverter at 0.9 PF (Note: transformer overloaded at ~136% with 8 PV nodes) PV smart inverter at 0.8 PF (Note: transformer overloaded at ~155% with 8 PV nodes) Gridco IPR/PRT 4.3% (0.9%) 3.6% (0.9%) 3.7% (0.9%) 4.4% (0.8%) 3.2% (1.3%) 2.7% (1.9%) 3.4% (1.8%) 2.3% (2.2%) 1.8% (2.8%) 2.9% (2.3%) 3.0% (1.5%) 3.3% (1.3%) 1.7% (3.5%) 2.1% (2.4%) 2.5% (2.1%) Decouples MV and LV, tolerates MV up to 1.10 p.u., essentially equivalent to (10.00%) improvement Generally speaking, a transformer upgrade yields a voltage improvement of ~1% (0.01 p.u.), while reconductoring yields ~1-2% depending on the network and the specific reconductoring option being considered. Operating PV smart inverters at 0.9 PF yields ~1-2%, while a 0.8 PF yields ~2-3.5%, but the bigger voltage improvements require large amounts of reactive power. The reactive power drawn may cause unacceptable capacity overloads in the transformer or in the conductors, as well as added resistive loss. In contrast, the IPR/PRT decouples LV and MV voltages and essentially yields a 10% (0.10 p.u.) voltage improvement, which in almost all realistic cases means eliminating the voltage constraint entirely. 9

10 INCREASING PV HOSTING WITH IPRs About Gridco Systems Gridco Systems is a leader in agile grid infrastructure solutions, enabling utilities to more effectively integrate renewable and distributed generation, increase energy efficiency, manage peak capacity, and improve system reliability. The Gridco Systems empower Solution combines modular power electronics, advanced controls, distributed networking, and power system analytics to deliver the industry s only end-to-end hardware and software platform purpose built to solve utilities current and emerging distribution challenges in a distributed, dynamic, and decoupled fashion. To learn more, please visit Copyright 2016 Gridco Systems Inc. All rights reserved 0216 W: E: P: F: L Commerce Way Woburn, Massachusetts USA

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