Integrating High Penetrations of PV into Southern California: Year 2 Project Update

Barry Mather, Russell Neal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations


Southern California Edison (SCE) is well into a five-year project to install a total of 500 MW of distributed photovoltaic (PV) energy within its utility service territory. Typical installations to date are 1-3 MW peak rooftop PV systems that interconnect to medium-voltage urban distribution circuits or larger (5 MWpeak) ground-mounted systems that connect to medium-voltage rural distribution circuits. Some of the PV system interconnections have resulted in distribution circuits that have a significant amount of PV generation compared to customer load, resulting in high-penetration PV integration scenarios. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and SCE have assembled a team of distribution modeling, resource assessment, and PV inverter technology experts in order to investigate a few of the high-penetration PV distribution circuits. Currently, the distribution circuits being studied include an urban circuit with a PV penetration of approximately 46% and a rural circuit with a PV penetration of approximately 60%. In both cases, power flow on the circuit reverses direction, compared to traditional circuit operation, during periods of high PV power production and low circuit loading. Research efforts during year two of the five-year project were focused on modeling the distribution system level impacts of high-penetration PV integrations, the development and installation of distribution circuit data acquisition equipment appropriate for quantifying the impacts of high-penetration PV integrations, and investigating high-penetration PV impact mitigation strategies. This paper outlines these research efforts and discusses the following activities in more detail: the development of a quasi-static time-series test feeder for evaluating high-penetration PV integration modeling tools; the advanced inverter functions being investigated for deployment in the project's field demonstration and a power hardware-in-loop test of a 500-kW PV inverter implementing a limited set of advanced inverter functions.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2012
Event38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2012 - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: 3 Jun 20128 Jun 2012


Conference38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAustin, TX

Bibliographical note

See CP-5500-54131 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-56905


  • distribution system
  • high-penetration PV integration
  • PHIL
  • power hardware-in-loop testing
  • PV impact


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