Identifying ways rooftop solar and DER assets can further assist the electricity network
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian government, has announced $981,000 in funding to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to develop a number of tools to better understand the behaviour of rooftop solar and distributed energy resources (DER) in response to a variety of contingency events across the National Electricity Market (NEM).
As part of a $2.1 million project, it will look at how these assets respond to contingency events like the sudden loss of a large generator or transmission line, while also looking at opportunities for DER and rooftop solar to further protect the NEM from such events.
The study will improve data capture, assess inverter behaviour, inform the development of new standards and set up tools and frameworks for long term monitoring of solar and DER asset behaviour.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and solar monitoring company Solar Analytics are also partnering on the UNSW project.
UNSW will look at inverter compliance rates, possible improvements to existing inverter standards and give the AEMO with new tools to effectively operate a safe and reliable power system with high levels of PV in the grid.
ARENA says that to maintain system security, the NEM and AEMO must look at a number of contingency events.
Once developed, UNSW’s tools have the potential to help address many of the recommendations made in the Renewable Integration Study, such as informing the refinement of technical performance standards, and establishing real-time visibility of rooftop solar and DER assets.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says UNSW’s project was a great opportunity to understand how rooftop solar reacts in contingency events and how it can be improved upon: “UNSW’s project is an exciting step in developing the vital components for rooftop solar and DER and the benefits they bring to supporting the electricity grid.
“Integrating renewables into the electricity system is a key priority for ARENA, so the tools being developed throughout the project will help to ensure that Australia’s record-breaking solar installations continue to be of benefit to the grid and in helping with system security.”