This project, funded by ARENA and AusNet Services from Feb 2019 to Feb 2021, investigated using high-fidelity models how distribution companies (known as Distribution Network Service Providers -DNSPs - in Australia) can make the most of their networks to facilitate high penetrations of residential solar PV.
The project started with the development of four significantly different (urban and rural) three-phase integrated HV-LV network models to quantify the impacts of various solar PV penetrations on network performance. Then, using these models, we explored how to quickly estimate PV hosting capacity without the need for complex and detailed network studies. We developed an innovative analytical technique to assess network hosting capacity of solar PV by using readily available HV network and customer (smart meter) data.
We also investigated multiple planning options to assist DNSPs in increasing PV hosting capacity considering different complete solutions based on the combinations of traditional solutions (e.g., network augmentation, existing voltage regulation devices, existing PV inverter requirements) and non-traditional solutions (e.g., new voltage regulation strategies, PV inverter capabilities, and battery storage systems) to mitigate both voltage and asset congestion problems.
Finally, based on the extensive techno-economic analyses carried out, we provided a series of planning recommendations to help DNSPs in Australia, and internationally, take adequate planning actions that facilitate the widespread adoption of residential PV in a cost-effective and practical manner in the short-to-medium and long terms. We also provided recommendations for DNSPs that wish to carry out advanced PV hosting capacity calculations to enable more accurate assessments of connection requests and/or potential solutions using model-based and smart meter-driven approaches.