Challenges of PV Integration in Low-Voltage Secondary Networks
This paper presents challenges and potential impacts of photovoltaic (PV) integration in the low-voltage downtown secondary networks (downtown networks). In the conventional secondary networks, substation feeders are the sole source of electric power and establish unidirectional power to the downtown network. The network protectors prevent the flow of power from inside the network to the upstream feeder by disconnecting the circuit to protect the feeder transformer against upstream faults. The assumption of unidirectional power flow can be violated by PV generation due to the possibility of excess power inside the network. It is shown in this paper that a large number of network protector trips can occur and, thus, voltage collapse may follow even in low PV penetration levels. In addition, it is demonstrated that the reclose action of the network protector relays is adversely affected by the PV power. Other adverse effects of such distributed-generation units, such as voltage profile, line overloads, and flicker, are also briefly discussed. Finally, a solution is proposed, based on differential currents, to upgrade the network protector relays in order to avoid false trips due to excessive PV power. Part of the New Orleans downtown network is modeled and the study is performed through simulations.