Transpower Releases Research On Solar Panels


Transpower has released research that finds New Zealand's
power system is in a good position to enable a significant increase in
renewable electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The amount of solar PV on the rooftops of homes and
businesses is increasing. The research examined how significant amounts of this
distributed, variable electricity generation could affect the operation of the
National Grid as it displaces generation from other sources.

General Manager System Operator John Clarke said the
research results were positive.

"Overall, we found that the existing New Zealand power
system can accommodate significant levels of solar PV in addition to the
present generation mix and demand for electricity. This is due to the inherent
capability of the system to provide two-way power flows (from north to south,
and south to north) and for hydro generation to cover short-term variations in
electricity generation from other sources."

"We did this research to understand how to avoid potential
difficulties and ensure that the National Grid will enable electricity
consumers to use the technologies they choose," he said. "Our research did not
consider specific impacts for local distribution networks where there may be
issues we have not considered. We focused on the overall transmission system
and power system operation."

Clarke said that some countries have experienced
difficulties managing their power systems when solar PV has increased significantly.
"Currently New Zealand has less than 1% of its electricity generated by solar
PV, but this is increasing. Our research has helped us identify when further
studies will be required, and this is likely to be as installed solar PV
approaches 1,000 Megawatts or around 16 times that installed today."

The studies also highlighted the importance of inverter technology.

"Inverters are the devices that convert solar irradiance to
electricity that you can use in your home," Clarke added. "There is a standard
for inverter requirements, and our studies found that if non-compliant
inverters are sold and used in New Zealand, this will pose additional
limitations and costs for the power system in the future."

"We have been undertaking a research programme investigating
how emerging technologies will impact the power system. We have assessed
international observations in the New Zealand context, to ensure we can remain
agile and responsive to the evolving energy industry and environment. This
solar report is the second in our programme of work," he said.

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