Sizing SiC Storage Inverters for Fast Grid Frequency Support

Anderson Hoke, Kevin Bennion, Vahan Gevorgian, Eduard Muljadi, Sudipta Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


As wind and solar displace synchronous generators whose inertia stabilizes the AC grid frequency on fast time scales, it has been proposed to use energy storage systems (ESSs) to mitigate frequency transient events. Such events require a rapid surge of power from the ESS, but they occur only rarely. The high temperature tolerance of SiC MOSFETs and diodes presents an opportunity for innovative ESS inverter designs. Herein we investigate a SiC ESS inverter design such that the SiC device ratings are obeyed during mild frequency events but are exceeded during rare, major events, for a potentially more economical inverter design. In support of this proposal we present: 1. An analysis of four years of grid frequency events in the U.S. Western Interconnection. 2. A switch-level ESS inverter simulation using SiC devices with detailed loss estimates. 3. Thermal analysis of the SiC power modules during a worst-case frequency event, showing that the modules can likely withstand the brief overcurrent. This analysis supports the conclusion that it may be advantageous for economical designs (acknowledging the increased risks) to undersize the SiC switches when designing inverters to perform active power control for grid frequency support. Such a strategy may result in SiC-based designs being more competitive with less costly silicon IGBT-based designs.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2015
Event3rd IEEE Workshop on Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Applications, WiPDA 2015 - Blacksburg, United States
Duration: 2 Nov 20154 Nov 2015


Conference3rd IEEE Workshop on Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Applications, WiPDA 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-65109


  • energy storage
  • frequency support
  • inverter
  • Silicon carbide
  • thermal modeling


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