Arizona Public Service to study impact of high solar energy penetration on the grid


Phoenix, AZ, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 26, 2009 – A project from Arizona Public Service (APS) project to understand how large amounts of solar can best be integrated into the grid was approved earlier this month by the state regulatory body the Arizona Corporation Commission.

APS, along with four partners, recently was awarded a $3.3 million High Penetration Solar Deployment grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The comprehensive first-of-its-kind study will take place in Flagstaff, Arizona. The team will help identify methods and technologies to optimize grid reliability and efficiency with the high concentration of distributed solar generation.

Specifically the team wants to understand what current and new technologies are needed to accommodate higher penetrations of solar, and at what point will they be needed, what changes utility controllers can expect in how they manage power, how the stability of the distribution network could be affected by fluctuating solar power production, and how can a new advanced solar inverter improve system stability and power quality.

APS plans to integrate 1.5 MW of solar power on a single feeder, with approximately 600 kW coming from residential photovoltaic (PV) rooftop installations, 400 kW from installations on commercial business properties, and 500 kW from a utility-scale solar park installation.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar installations in the U.S. are expected to exceed 6,000 MW by 2010, more than triple what the installed base was just two years ago, while the cumulative annual growth rate in solar is expected to be as high as 41 percent through 2012, more than double the 22 percent growth rate in wind power.
APS was one of seven utilities and research organizations to be awarded a high penetration solar deployment grant. The other grant recipients are Commonwealth Edison Company, Florida State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, University of California San Diego, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The DOE expects to invest up to $24.7 million in the projects above, while awardees will cost share more than $10 million for them.