Welcome

The electric utility industry has a need to understand the feasibility of integrating wide-spread distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems. High-penetration scenarios are expected across different regions and system scales, yet impacts to the utility are not fully known for significant sizes and quantities of grid-connected PV installations.

Supported by member utilities and U.S. Dept. of Energy, EPRI collects multi-year, high-resolution solar data across geographically diverse distribution feeders. EPRI then processes and manages that data, integrates distinct feeder characteristics, and conducts analyses to assess the true variability of solar generation and its potential impact on utility operations and planning. Dozens of distribution feeders across the U.S. have been evaluated—and hundreds of remote monitoring units deployed.

Results are published from ongoing project work that began in 2010. Project activities continue to be of interest to both private and public solar industry stakeholders and multiple government entities at international, federal, state, and local levels.

EPRI has created this public website to serve as a resource for researchers in this important area of power system studies. Here, you can learn about EPRI's efforts to collect data from a variety of distributed PV systems. In addition, this site provides OpenDSS distribution feeder models and sample data sets at no cost.

Be sure to visit DOE's SunShot Initiative High Penetration Solar Portal for additional resources and topics.

Learn

The most common distributed generation resources expected to be connected to the distribution system are photovoltaic (PV) systems, which include customer-owned and utility-owned solar installations ranging from single PV modules (0.2 kW) to multi-megawatt plants (up to about 20 MW size).

Existing electricity distribution equipment may work well with PV systems, but they also may need to be adjusted to account for unqiue characteristics such as high, correlated ramping rates or reactive power production. As adding more of these devices is considered, it will be important to understand their interaction with the distribution system, to define mitigation strategies, and to identify needs for possible redefinition of operational procedures.

Datasets are being generated with consistent format that includes PV system ac output and sunlight input measurements on sub-minute time scales. These datasets will enable power system engineers to determine PV performance across varying environments and characterize variability issues, such as passing clouds and interaction with distribution circuit protection.

Do

Researchers often experience difficulty obtaining real-world data for use in experiments and analysis. This is particularly true in power systems, where utilities can be reluctant to share information. Even if data can be obtained, the specialized software required to analyze it tends to be very expensive.

This site solves both of these problems by providing data and software at no charge. OpenDSS circuit models are also available, allowing you to get started quickly and easily. Access to selected field measurements is also provided.