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IMPACT OF LARGE PHOTOVOLTAIC PENETRATION ON THE QUALITY OF SUPPLY A CASE STUDY AT A PHOTOVOLTAIC NOISE BARRIER IN AUSTRIA B. Bletterie; M.

Heidenreich Arsenal research, Business Unit Renewable Energy Technologies Faradaygasse 3, A-1030 Vienna, Austria Phone: +43(0)50 550-6355, Fax: +43(0)50 550-6390 E-mail: benoit.bletterie@arsenal.ac.at ABSTRACT: With the steadily increasing penetration of distributed generation (DG) in electric power systems, concerns have been raised that reliable and safe electricity supply might be jeopardized by a further deployment of decentralized power plants. In this context, Power Quality (PQ) and more generally the Quality of Supply (QoS) are key issues which have recently gained increased attention. QoS has been the subject of many studies during the last decade: customers as well as network operators are well aware that secure and efficient operation of power networks and customers equipment is intimately connected with a high QoS level. A consortium of research centers, universities, utilities and manufacturers is currently working on this topic within the framework of the European project DGFACTS. In this context, a power quality measurement campaign has been launched with the aim to assess the impacts of various DG technologies such as PV plants, wind farms and small hydro power plants. This paper gives an overview of the results obtained from PQ measurements performed at a 101 kW photovoltaic noise barrier in Gleisdorf, Austria. Harmonics, flicker, unbalance and RMS events are characterized and discussed. Furthermore, a short discussion on the role played by the decoupling protection is provided. Keywords: Distributed generation, Power quality, Grid-connected PV-systems 1 INTRODUCTION many customers are connected at the same PCC. In the framework of the measurement campaign, the assessment of the power quality at this plant was conducted during May and June 2003. Voltage variations, voltage dips and swells, flicker, harmonics, unbalance, etc. were measured and analyzed according to the standard EN 50160 [4]. Furthermore the network configuration was investigated in order to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the measurements. 2 THE EUROPEAN PROJECT DGFACTS

As one of the most essential bases for contemporary life, electricity supply and, in particular, the quality of supply has gained increasing attention in the past years. Nowadays referred to as a product with a defined quality, electricity is rather a unique product because of its intangible and transient nature. With the liberalization of electricity markets and the steadily increasing penetration of Distributed Generation from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) driven by favorable environmental policies and regulatory frameworks in European countries, concerns have been raised regarding the impacts on the quality of supply. Various studies [1,2,3] led to the conclusion that compatibility limits have, in some cases, already been exceeded. Close attention must be paid to ensure a high level of the quality of supply in order to guarantee the successful and secure integration of distributed generation (DG) into the electrical power system. In this context, arsenal research is currently investigating this issue in the framework of the European project DGFACTS (Improvement of the quality of supply in Distributed Generation networks through the integrated application of power electronic techniques), part of the European Research Project Cluster "Integration of RES + DG". The objective of this project is to solve the series of power quality problems arising from the integration of distributed generation into electric distribution networks by developing new devices based on the experience of the FACTS (Flexible Alternative Current Transmission Systems). Among other contributions, arsenal research has initiated a power quality measurement campaign for photovoltaic installations in Austria. The 101 kW photovoltaic noise barrier situated in Gleisdorf (Austria), alongside the A2 motorway between Vienna and Graz, was selected for power quality measurements because of its relatively high capacity compared to the strength of the network and because

The 3-year project which started in January 2003 is carried out by a consortium of 12 partners from 7 European countries. The goal of this project is to develop modular systems (the so-called DGFACTS) aimed at improving the quality of supply in order to allow a higher degree of RES+DG penetration into the current and evolving distribution systems. Fig. 1 illustrates the application of the DGFACTS devices in distribution networks.

Fig. 1: Project DGFACTS improvement of quality of supply for DG networks

In order to provide the necessary inputs in terms of specifications and requirements for the development of the DGFACTS prototypes, the following preparative tasks were carried out: - Analysis of the existing and on-going normative and legislative information regarding quality of supply (see report of the DGFACTS project [5]) - Power quality assessment at selected locations by means of in-situ measurements - Simulation of the impact of the interconnection of DG units to the distribution network regarding power quality 3 INSTALLATION SELECTED FOR THE CASE STUDY The photovoltaic noise barrier Gleisdorf was selected because its capacity is relatively high compared to the short-circuit power of the network at the point of common coupling (about 3%). The ratio between the rated power of the generator and the networks shortcircuit power gives an idea of the size of the generator with respect to the network strength, and provides a rough gauge whether or not power quality problems may be expected. The photovoltaic generator consists of about 1 800 modules (1/3 of the installed power multicrystalline and 2/3 amorphous silicon modules) which are integrated into the 1 300 m length of the noise barrier. They are connected to 55 string inverters (single-phase transformer-less type) which feed the electricity into the low-voltage network. The annual yield of the installation as committed by the plant operator amounts to 86 000 kWh. 4 ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF SUPPLY BY MEANS OF IN-SITU MEASUREMENTS The quality of supply was assessed over a period of more than 5 weeks using a power quality analyzer connected to a GSM modem for remote access to the data. The measurements were analyzed on a weekly basis according to the standard EN 50160; the conclusions were then presented in a report issued as a deliverable of the project. Fig. 2 gives a simple description of the measurement system.

5 RESULTS ASSESSMENT

OF

THE

POWER

QUALITY

In the following subsections, the results of the analysis of the power quality parameters (RMS events, harmonics, flicker and unbalance) are presented in detail. 5.1 RMS events (voltage events) RMS events were identified as the major source of concern at this PV installation. At the beginning of the measurement campaign, an extremely large number of voltage dips, voltage swells and short interruptions were recorded at the installations bus bars: in total, more than 1 000 RMS events were recorded during the first week. Fig. 3 shows the measured voltage profile for a sunny day. The voltage (blue line) and current (red line) plots are 10-minutes-minimum and 10-minutes-mean values respectively.

Fig. 3: Generated current and terminal voltage for RMS events during the peak generation (sunny day) Fig. 3 clearly shows that the RMS events occurred during times of generation peaks, which indicates a correlation between the PQ problems and the PV plant operation; an explanation is provided later. The RMS events which occurred during the first week are classified in Table 1 according to their magnitude (residual voltage) and duration. Table 1: RMS events UNIPEDE Table for phase L1, first week

Fig. 2: Setup of the power quality measurements at the 101 kW PV noise barrier

The information provided in Table 1 can be presented on the so-called magnitude-duration scatter plot (also called CBEMA diagram): see Fig. 4. This allows having an estimate of the events severity. Each individual point represents a RMS event whereas the two envelope curves show typical sensitivity curves of IT equipment.

Fig. 5: Voltage THD distribution (phase L1) Table 2: Voltage THD (phase L1) 10-minutes MIN value 10-minutes MAX value 10 minutes MEAN value Standard deviation 95% value of the 10-minutes values 1,3 % 4,3 % 2,7 % 0,4 % 3,5 %

Fig. 4: CBEMA magnitude-duration scatter plot, phase L1, first week Most of the events which appear on this diagram are within the sensitivity zone which means that they can be classified as severe: equipment subjected to such disturbances would usually trip. After discussions with the network and plant operator, the occurrence of these numerous events was explained by a too tight adjustment of the over-voltage protection. The voltage variations/ fluctuations resulting from the current variations generated by the PV plant combined with natural voltage variations have resulted in trips of the over-voltage protection. Although the voltage variations were not significant, the plant was repeatedly disconnected and reconnected from the network because of a too tight adjustment of the decoupling protection. After a change of this adjustment, the number of RMS events dropped back to reasonable numbers. 5.2 Harmonic distortion A careful analysis of the measurement data led to the conclusion that the PV plant does not seem to have any impact on the harmonic content of the line voltage. This conclusion could be derived from the fact that the distortion level observed during nighttime, during sunny days with large PV generation and cloudy days, is comparable. The distribution of the THD values over the whole monitoring period is depicted on Fig. 5. Table 2 provides the characteristics of this distribution.

The harmonic distortion level at the PCC is comparable to levels which can be typically found on distribution networks (with a predominance of the 5th and 7th harmonics). 5.3 Flicker Similarly, the operation of the PV plant did not have any noticeable impact on the flicker level, except for those time intervals where RMS events occurred. This illustrates the importance to flag measurement intervals which contain RMS events; otherwise events would be counted twice. This issue is addressed in the standard IEC 61000-4-30 [6]. 5.4 Unbalance The voltage unbalance (defined in [4] as the ratio between negative and positive sequence) is rather small: the 95% value is about 0.3%. The fact that the PV power is not equally distributed over the three phases does not have any noticeable influence on the voltage unbalance. Even though the current unbalance reaches levels of about 8% during the generation peak, the voltage unbalance level does not show any significant increase. The results for harmonic distortion, flicker and voltage unbalance are summarized in Table 3. Table 3: Voltage harmonics, flicker and voltage unbalance summary (three phases, whole monitoring period) EN 50160 95%-values values Voltage distortion 4,8% 8% THDU Flicker 0,6 1 Plt Voltage unbalance 0,3% 2% UU

CONCLUSIONS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The following conclusions regarding the impact on the quality of supply at this PV noise barrier can be drawn from the measurement campaign: - Harmonic distortion, flicker and voltage unbalance levels are comparable to those which can be expected on typical LV distribution networks without DG. A significant negative impact of the DG unit could not be observed during the monitoring period. - However, some power quality problems were identified: numerous RMS events (voltage dips/swells and short interruptions) occurred during a part of the monitoring period. - This abnormal occurrence of RMS events was identified to be the result of an interaction between the generator itself and the plants decoupling protection, caused by a too tight adjustment of the over-voltage protection function. The main conclusion derived from this study is certainly that the decoupling protection, as a core component of every DG installation, deserves particular attention. Too sensitive settings or inappropriate design can not only lead to problems regarding the reliable operation of the plant but furthermore also be a source of power quality disturbances in the grid. In the further case studies carried out in the framework of the project, spurious trips due to voltage disturbances have been reported (e.g. at wind power and cogeneration sites). Such spurious trips can negatively affect the plant performance, components lifetime and even the network operation at a larger scale (voltage stability). Great attention has to be paid to this cross-cutting issue. 7 REFERENCES

The project DGFACTS is partially funded by the European Commission, DG Research Duration: 01.01.2003-31.12.2005 Project no. ENK5-CT-2002-00658 The authors are solely responsible for this publication, it does not represent the opinion of the European Community and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of data appearing therein.

[1] Eurelectric, Power Quality in European Electricity Supply Networks 1st edition, Feb. 2002 [2] Eurelectric, Power Quality in European Electricity Supply Networks 2nd edition, Nov. 2003 [3] L. Berthet, D. Boudou, X. Mamo, P. Eyrolles, J. Martinon, EDF, State of play of the harmonic levels on the French low-voltage networks, CIRED 2003 [4] EN 50160:1999 Voltage characteristics of electricity supplied by public distribution systems [5] B. Bletterie, M. Heidenreich, Evaluation of the quality of supply requirements specified by existing standards, national legislation and relevant technical reports inside and outside EU (available at www. http://dgfacts.labein.es/dgfacts) [6] IEC 61000-4-30 (2003:02): Power quality measurement methods