Australia represents one of the largest solar PV markets in the world – especially for rooftop systems. More than 2 million installations of solar PV systems, connected to the grid through inverters, typically in the 2‐50kW range can be found across the NEM. Just in 2018, the total number of rooftop solar PV system installations reached 1.6GW and growth expected to continue in the near future.
This amount of solar PV systems can no longer be considered negligible for the safe operation of the network. Instances of solar PV “shake‐off” in distribution feeders is observed following faults even at transmission level. In order to better understand PV performance and support increased installation volumes it is critical to evaluate PV inverter behaviour. However, there is a great variety of PV inverter manufacturers and even greater range of PV inverter models currently installed across our networks.
Although all inverters comply with local standards (AS 4777.3‐2005 and 4777.2‐2015), grid faults rarely match the prescriptive tests defined in the standards.
Test‐benching of inverters provides useful insights for their response under a broad range of disturbances including voltage and frequency disturbances. The next logical step is to validate their performance through Power Hardware‐in‐the‐Loop (PHiL). Such tests allow us to:
- Test at different levels of solar PV penetrations in feeders.
- Coordinate testing of multiple inverters in the same feeder.
- Test for multiple feeders (urban, suburban, rural etc.
Our presentation will cover elements of PV inverter bench‐testing, the broad variety of inverter response to various network disturbances and the PHiL configuration and testing currently underway at our laboratories at UNSW Sydney.
Georgios Konstantinou, The University of New South Wales