Impact of high PV penetration on distribution transformer life time
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Integration of rooftop photovoltaics (PVs) in residential networks at moderate penetration levels is becoming a reality in many countries including Australia. Despite the technical challenges in properly accommodating PV units, one of the major benefits is the ability of PV units to extend useful life time of distribution transformers. This effect is not quantified in the existing literature. This paper carries out an analysis into the impacts of rooftop PVs at different penetration levels on the performance of distribution transformers and residential networks. This paper presents a methodology to quantify the benefit of the distribution transformer life extension brought about by customer-owned rooftop PV units. The proposed methodology is applied to a real distribution system with various scenarios, including different penetration levels. The results show the distribution transformer loss-of-life function, as a function of the rooftop PV penetration level, is monotonically decreasing function which saturates after a certain penetration level. The best life improvements occur with transformers that are highly loaded and the presence of a significant PV installation may support the deferral of transformer upgrades. © 2013 IEEE.
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