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SRP advanced inverter pilot study examines solar’s impact on the grid


From the August 11, 2017 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published August 10, 2017

By Paul Ciampoli
News Director

More than 750 Salt River Project customers are participating in an advanced inverter study to investigate how solar and other types of customer-generated energy sources impact the grid, SRP reported on Aug. 9.

Arizona-based SRP said the purpose of the pilot study, which is being conducted in conjunction with the Electric Power Research Institute, is to better understand how advanced inverters can help maintain grid reliability as solar installations increase.

SRP noted that advanced inverters offer additional functionalities, compared to traditional inverters, that can support power quality and enable the ability to be controlled remotely.

The utility has installed more than 750 advanced inverters on new and existing residential solar installations and began collecting data in July. This study is one of the first of its kind to look at this technology from the customers’ side of the meter, SRP said.

The advanced inverter project will help the utility to better understand advanced inverter functions, communication and control capabilities, and how these functions can benefit both the customer and SRP now and into the future.

In one component of the study, SRP is working with a community to determine how advanced inverters can benefit an area with a large penetration of solar.

SRP has recruited 120 residents of the Encanterra subdivision in San Tan Valley who have existing solar systems on their homes to participate in the study. Advanced inverters have been installed on these systems, along with communication equipment to remotely control the inverters.

“An advanced inverter helps smooth out the intermittent solar power fluctuations,” said Jim Pratt, SRP’s senior director of grid modernization services.

“We are excited to see how advanced inverter functionality can mitigate impacts and support power-quality requirements so equipment like our customers’ appliances and air conditioning units operate optimally,” he said. “This helps us enable customers’ choices.”

SRP is a community-based not-for-profit public power utility, serving about 1 million customers.

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