Implementation and Validation of Advanced Unintentional Islanding Testing using Power Hardware-in-the-Loop (PHIL) Simulation

Blake Lundstrom, Barry Mather, Mariko Shirazi, Michael Coddington

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

13 Scopus Citations


Unprecedented investment in new renewable power (especially solar photovoltaic) capacity is occurring. As this new generation capacity is interconnected with the electric power system (EPS), it is critical that their grid interconnection systems have proper controls in place so that they react appropriately in case of an unintentional islanding event. Advanced controls and methods for unintentional islanding protection that go beyond existing standards, such as UL 1741 and IEEE Std 1547, are often required as more complex high penetration photovoltaic installations occur. This paper describes the implementation, experimental results, and validation of a power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL)-based platform that allows for the rapid evaluation of advanced anti-islanding and other controls in complex scenarios. The PHIL-based approach presented allows for accurate, real-time simulation of complex scenarios by connecting a device under test to a software-based model of a local EPS. This approach was validated by conducting an unintentional islanding test of a photovoltaic inverter, as described in IEEE 1547.1, using both PHIL and discrete hardware-based test configurations. The comparison of the results of these two experiments demonstrates that this novel PHIL-based test platform accurately emulates traditional unintentional islanding tests. The advantage of PHIL-based testing over discrete hardware-only testing is demonstrated by completing an IEEE 1547.1 unintentional islanding test using a very precisely tuned resonant circuit that is difficult to realize with discrete hardware using PHIL.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2013
Event39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2013 - Tampa, FL, United States
Duration: 16 Jun 201321 Jun 2013


Conference39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTampa, FL

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-57840


  • Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL)
  • High penetration
  • IEEE Std 1547
  • Interconnection
  • Inverter
  • Loss-of-mains
  • Photovoltaic (PV)
  • Power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL)
  • Unintentional islanding


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