Steady-State Analysis of Maximum Photovoltaic Penetration Levels on Typical Distribution Feeders

Anderson Hoke, Rebecca Butler, Joshua Hambrick, Benjamin Kroposki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus Citations


This paper presents simulation results for a taxonomy of typical distribution feeders with various levels of photovoltaic (PV) penetration. For each of the 16 feeders simulated, the maximum PV penetration that did not result in a steady-state voltage or current violation is presented for several PV location scenarios: clustered near the feeder source, clustered near the midpoint of the feeder, clustered near the end of the feeder, randomly located, and evenly distributed. In addition, the maximum level of PV is presented for single, large PV systems at each location. Maximum PV penetration was determined by requiring that feeder voltages stay within ANSI Range A and that feeder currents stay within the ranges determined by overcurrent protection devices. Generation ramp rates, protection and coordination, and other factors that may impact maximum PV penetrations are not considered here. Simulations were run in GridLAB-D using hourly time steps over a year with randomized load profiles based on utility data and typical meteorological year weather data. For 86% of the 336 cases simulated, maximum PV penetration was at least 30% of peak load.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6357275
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5500-55094 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5C00-60820


  • Distributed power generation
  • photovoltaic (PV) systems
  • power distribution
  • power system simulation


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