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The Hawaiian Electric Companies

NREL is providing critical information to the Hawaiian Electric Companies about the performance and impacts of today’s advanced solar inverters, as well as proprietary feedback to the inverter manufacturers. The assessment is helping both the utility and its regulators plan for the future evolution of the electric grids on each of the Hawaiian Islands.

Photo of a home with rooftop photovoltaics in Hawaii

With the highest penetrations of renewable energy in the United States, advanced inverters are needed to help keep Hawaii’s power grid stable. Advanced inverters include features to help maintain stable grid operations, including riding through events that cause high or low frequencies or voltages on the grid, changing their power output to smooth voltage deviations, and ramping up their power at commanded rates both during normal operations and during reconnection following a grid fault.

NREL is evaluating the performance of five advanced inverters both alone and when connected to models of the Oahu island grid through the Energy Systems Integration Facility’s power hardware-in-the-loop capability. Tests will determine how well the inverters support grid stability during normal and abnormal conditions.