Techno-Economic and Harmonic Analysis of Grid-Connected Solar PV Systems in Low-Voltage Distribution Networks
Grid-connected rooftop and ground-mounted solar photovoltaics (PV) systems have gained attraction globally in recent years due to (a) reduced PV module prices, (b) maturing inverter technology, and (c) incentives through feed-in tariff (FiT) or net metering. The large penetration of grid-connected PVs coupled with nonlinear loads and bidirectional power flows impacts grid voltage levels and total harmonic distortion (THD) at the low-voltage (LV) distribution feeder. In this presentation, LV power quality issues with significant nonlinear loads were evaluated at the point of common coupling (PCC). Various cases of PV penetration (0 to 100%) were evaluated for practical feeder data in a weak grid environment and tested at the radial modified IEEE-34 bus system to evaluate total harmonic distortion in the current (THDi) and voltage (THDv) at PCC along with the seasonal variations. Results showed lower active, reactive, and apparent power losses of 1.9, 2.6, and 3.3%, respectively, with 50% solar PV penetration in the LV network as the voltage profile of the LV network was significantly improved compared to the base case of no solar. Further, with 50% PV penetration, THDi and THDv at PCC were noted as 10.2 and 5.2%, respectively, which is within the IEEE benchmarks at LV.