Impact of solar photovoltaics on the low-voltage distribution network in New Zealand

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Residential rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are being installed at an increasing rate, both in New Zealand and globally. There have been concerns over possible issues such as overvoltage and overcurrent. These PV systems are mostly connected at low voltage (LV). This study presents a case study of simulating the entire LV network from a single utility, comprising 10,558 11 kV–415 V transformers and their associated distribution feeders. These results are also presented by network type. Various solar PV penetration levels are added to the model and the power-flow results are presented. From these results, possible maximum limits of solar PV penetration are investigated and measures to alleviate overvoltage problems are simulated. The effect of using PV inverters with voltage regulation is simulated. Results show that some minor overvoltage problems can be expected in the future, particularly in urban areas. However, in most cases the overvoltage would not be much higher than the statutory limit of 1.06 p.u.
Voltage 415 V, LV distribution network, Low-voltage distribution network, PV inverter, New Zealand, Voltage regulation, Distribution feeder, Voltage 11 kV, Overvoltage problem alleviation, Power transformer, Solar PV penetration, Residential rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic panel, Power flow
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Watson, J. D., Watson, N. R., Santos‐Martin, D., Wood, A. R., Lemon, S. & Miller, A. J. (2016). Impact of solar photovoltaics on the low‐voltage distribution network in New Zealand. IET Generation, Transmission & Distribution, 10(1), 1–9.