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An Analysis of Distributed Photovoltaics on Single-Phase Laterals of Distribution Systems

Reiman, Andrew P. (2015) An Analysis of Distributed Photovoltaics on Single-Phase Laterals of Distribution Systems. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The adoption of distributed photovoltaic systems promises to benefit society by reducing pollution and dependence on finite natural resources. When deployed carefully, distributed photovoltaic systems have the potential to provide economic benefits to both the end-user and the system operator. However, high levels of photovoltaics and arbitrary end-user-driven deployment can introduce negative impacts to distribution systems including voltage rise, load imbalance, harmonics and system protection concerns.

Power distribution systems have a natural capability to accommodate a limited amount of distributed generation with only minimal impacts on the system. Some system operators allow distributed generation up to 15% of the peak load level (equivalent to a conservative estimate of the minimum load) of a segment of the circuit without a detailed study. With increasing interest in distributed photovoltaic generation in some regions, demand for distributed generation regularly exceeds the 15% per segment threshold. The results of distributed generation studies on a circuit segment typically cannot be applied to another segment, even if the two segments are part of the same distribution feeder.

Single-phase laterals pose additional challenges to the deployment of distributed generation. Their topology can lead naturally to load imbalance. Imbalance can be exacerbated by the introduction of high levels of photovoltaics. In addition, single-phase laterals are oftenprotected by a fuse. Excessive distributed generation on a fused single-phase lateral can cause undesired fuse behavior for faults both within and adjacent to the lateral.

This thesis examines the limits of photovoltaics on single-phase laterals of distribution systems. Factors which limit photovoltaic levels including voltage rise, load balance, harmonics, and system protection concerns are examined. Conservative limits, which can be used as guidelines for photovoltaic systems on single-phase laterals are discussed and expanded. Strategies to mitigate negative impacts of PV and increase potential deployments levels are examined and discussed. Finally, tools that have been developed for a research project with FirstEnergy to automate distribution system modeling and analysis are discussed. Hypothetical case studies of new PV systems on single-phase laterals of existing distribution systems are performed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Reiman, Andrew P.apr28@pitt.eduAPR28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairMcDermott, Thomastem42@pitt.eduTEM42
Committee CoChairReed, Gregorygfr3@pitt.eduGFR3
Committee MemberKwasinski, AlexisAKWASINS@pitt.eduAKWASINS
Committee MemberStanchina, Williamwes25@pitt.eduWES25
Date: 8 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 March 2015
Approval Date: 8 June 2015
Submission Date: 27 March 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 111
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Electrical and Computer Engineering
Degree: MSEE - Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Power Distribution Systems Solar Panels Distribution System Modeling Distributed Generation Photovoltaic Generation
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 17:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:26


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