UNSW project to assess impact rooftop solar and DER assets could have on energy stability
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and solar monitoring company Solar Analytics are also partnering on the project.
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today 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).
The $2.1 million project will look to identify how these assets respond to contingency events such as the sudden loss of a large generator or transmission line, while also assessing opportunities for DER and rooftop solar PV to further protect the NEM from such events in the future.
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.
As part of the study, UNSW will assess inverter compliance rates, identify possible improvements to existing inverter standards, and provide AEMO with new tools to more effectively operate a safe, secure and reliable power system with high levels of rooftop solar in the grid.
To maintain power system security in the NEM, AEMO must consider a range of contingency events. The system needs to withstand these contingency events and quickly return to its regular secure operating conditions.
AEMO’s Renewable Integration Study has identified that high penetration of rooftop solar presents challenges to power system security and that the impacts of it are already occurring, and are expected to increase over the next five years.
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.