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2015 Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community... has ended
Wednesday, April 22 • 9:20am - 10:00am
‘Smart’ Inverter System for Power Generation Transient Damping

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The United States of America is faced with a challenging issue, particularly in states with increasing percentages of electrical power generation due to solar photovoltaic (PV) power. Distributed solar power usage is spreading. The demand for electricity during the daylight hours in many western states may soon be nearly met by PV generation alone. This will necessitate idling or shutting down conventional steam turbine generators on a daily basis, which has a deleterious effect on such equipment. The steep ramp rate (over 4000MW per hour) in the power demand curve in the evening when solar power is waning but overall electrical demand is rising will soon require the frequent cycling of expensive to operate rapid-response power plants (Farrell). These scenarios would result in an increase in the cost of operation, and therefore an increase in the cost of conventional electricity at the consumer level (Shamoradi, Mohammadi, Kahkesh). For this reason, solar energy has become a technical problem for electrical utilities.To address this issue, a small scale control system was designed and implemented that stores energy during times of potential overproduction and automatically resupplies that energy back to the power grid during times of high demand. This flattens the real demand curve at the generator output. On a larger scale, this could allow conventional power generation equipment to be operated within design parameters more consistently, which keeps the operating costs of the electric company low. Additionally, the Smart Inverter system assists the turbine generators by inherently providing stable frequency control. The Smart Inverter is able to effectively meter supplementary power to and from a miniature power grid in order to damp the power demand curve of the generator. This is important to ensure that the increasing use of solar energy does not drive up the cost of conventional generation. The Smart Inverter can help to ensure system reliability under changing grid conditions as the nation begins to rely more heavily on renewable sources of energy.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 9:20am - 10:00am
213 Rhoades Robinson Hall