With increasing level of active power in the grid from solar parks or wind farms it might be more important to feed in reactive power. Which role can solar parks play in order to reduce the costs for new high-voltage or medium-voltage cables?
PV systems of all sizes can provide grid support services. The main advantages of large plants are the lower cost to provide the service and the ease of implementing communication. PV can participate in system operation either at the distribution or the transmission level. But it requires a cost-effective communication infrastrcuture, new system operation strategies that take advantage of PV’s capabilities, a better interaction between DSOs and a better understanding of what PV can provide. The effective use of PV capabilities can effectively reduce the need to extend the exisiting grid infrastructure.
Superstorm Sandy made it clear: The solar fields are the first generators returning to the grid after a blackout or shut-down of the grid in case of hazard or disaster. Do they diminish the risk of blackouts at all?
As EPIA showed in its “Connecting the Sun” report, large-scale PV integration in the European grid is technically feasible with a high level of security of supply, even under the most extreme weather and load conditions. With the right measures and investments in place, system reliability can be ensured. The concept of back start or restoration plans – restarting the system after a black out – is really complex. Currently PV is not integrated in such plans and is requested to disconnect during events. In a future with a lot of PV and with the development of the right measures, PV could serve as an emergency generation technology during critical events and help to restore the grids.