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IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter - October 2013

Solar Load Cycles and Storage Requirements

Most discussion of how using solar photovoltaic cells to account for most electricity generation has focused on the daily cycle of load versus the daily generation cycle. That cycle has been heavily analyzed, and there are a large number of companies working on local and neighborhood storage to support the daily cycle. But there is a much longer cycle that gets little attention and has a much larger impact on the cost of investment and on the efficient use of the solar generation. Simulations based on data from four major U.S. grid systems show that long-term storage needs will be large. This is but one of many scenarios that need to be explored.

Solar Impacts: Power Electronics to the Rescue

Sharply increased penetration of solar generation is starting to have wide ramifications in some electrical distribution systems, putting stress on devices traditionally used to handle voltage variability. To address the impacts of intermittent generation effectively, the hitherto largely separate disciplines of power electronics and power system automation need to be integrated.

Sun, Solar and the Grid

Situated in the nation’s sunniest state, Arizona Public Service (APS) is taking a lead in evaluating the implications of high solar penetration in the power grid. In one experimental project, APS is installing solar production meters, in addition to regular smart meters, in residences with photovoltaic installations. Data taken every 15 minutes will be correlated with historical information about weather and irradiation, to produce solar production forecasts for individual arrays, neighborhoods and whole regions.

Arizona Public Service's Diverse Solar Portfolio

The utility operates one of the country's largest thermal-solar central generating plants and encourages wide installation of photovoltaic arrays on rooftops. It has a program to get PV arrays installed specifically on school rooftops, providing the buildings with power while introducing students to the benefits of solar technology.

About the Smart Grid Newsletter

A monthly publication, the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter features practical and timely technical information and forward-looking commentary on smart grid developments and deployments around the world. Designed to foster greater understanding and collaboration between diverse stakeholders, the newsletter brings together experts, thought-leaders, and decision-makers to exchange information and discuss issues affecting the evolution of the smart grid.


Doug HousemanDoug Houseman, an IEEE member, is the Vice Chairman of the Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee.
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Vadim ZheglovVadim Zheglov, an IEEE member, is a Power Systems Consultant at EnerNex.
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John D. McDonaldJohn D. McDonald is an IEEE Fellow, an IEEE Smart Grid technical expert, and a past president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
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Tony J. TewelisTony J. Tewelis joined Arizona Public Service (APS) in February of 2008 and currently is Director, Technology Innovation.
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Barbara LockwoodBarbara Lockwood is the General Manager of Energy Innovation for Arizona Public Service (APS).
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