IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - 14

guest editorial

Benjamin Kroposki and Barry Mather

rise of distributed power
integrating solar energy into the grid

A

Are we stArting to see the
changing of the guard in the grid? historically, the electric power system has
grown around the idea of economies of
scale-the bigger the power plant, the
cheaper the electricity. the ability of
individual homes to provide their own
energy has been a dream for many that
has yet to be realized because of the high
cost of emerging distributed technologies. we are now starting to see the full
potential of low-cost distributed generation mostly in the form of solar photovoltics (PVs). PV costs have dropped
dramatically over the last few years,
and coupled with incentives and a variety of customer financing mechanisms,
PV systems are being deployed around
the world at an ever-increasing pace and
scale. As of the end of 2014, there were
over 16 gw of installed solar energy
in the United states and over 150 gw
installed in the world. Much of this solar
energy is being deployed at the low- and
medium-voltage levels throughout the
power system. there are also certain
countries that have relatively high levels of installed solar. in germany, PVs
account for 6.5% of the annual energy
production and can reach levels of over
40% of the total power production during the peak sunlight hours on highsolar, low-load days.
this issue of IEEE Power & Energy
Magazine is the fourth in a series that addresses issues with integrating solar energy into the electric grid. starting with
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2014.2381411
Date of publication: 24 February 2015

14

ieee power & energy magazine

this issue and expanding in future issues,
we will investigate the integration of all
distributed energy resources (Ders), not
just solar-based Ders,
with electric power systems. the large-scale
deployment of Ders
presents many unique
challenges in terms of
grid integration. there
can potentially be millions of installed devices
that must work within
the operational parameters of a grid that was
fundamentally designed
to function with a relatively small number of
large central generators.
Distribution systems
have historically been
designed for power to
flow in one direction,
from the substation to
end-use customer loads.
their voltage regulation
and protection schemes
were typically designed and built with
one-way power flow in mind. As more
distributed generation is installed on
the grid, bidirectional power flows can
cause significant changes in the voltage profile over the length of a distribution circuit and can affect the available
fault current, which may influence the
sensitivity and selectivity of existing
system protection equipment as well
as require a review of the interruption
capacity of the distribution circuit's
switching equipment.

one thing is for sure, as more Ders
are deployed in the electric grid, we
will need to create requirements that
allow them to safely interconnect while
also providing services that have typically
been provided by large
generators. there is
also a need to develop
proper testing and certification procedures to
verify that Ders can
integrate well with existing grid equipment
and operating systems.
this issue contains six
articles that start to
examine the integration of Ders into the
grid and give us some
insight into a possible
future with high levels
of Ders contributing
to its safe operation.
the first article, "it's
All in the Plan," examines how the grid will change from the
transmission system all the way down to
each individual customer with the addition of vast amounts of Ders.
grid planners will have to account
for how Der devices behave when
designing distribution systems. to effectively plan and operate the distribution
grid under this changing landscape, new
capabilities in planning tools are needed,
and a more proactive approach must be
taken that accounts for the actual Der
characteristics as well as where the

We will
investigate the
integration of
all distributed
energy
resources, not
just solar-based
distributed
energy
resources, with
electric power
systems.

march/april 2015



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2015 - Cover4
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