As the first industry partner to use the ESIF, Advanced Energy Industries is using the ESIF's Power Systems Integration Laboratory (PSIL) to test its new solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter technology with the facility's hardware-in-the-loop system and megawatt-scale grid simulators. Solar inverters are responsible for a number of critical functions within a solar PV system, including converting the direct current output into alternating current for the grid. Advanced Energy's inverter will help support a smarter grid that can handle two-way flows of power and communication while reducing hardware costs.
The hardware-in-the-loop system at the ESIF allows Advanced Energy to loop its inverter into a simulation environment so researchers can look at new technologies operating in a combination of real world, real power, and simulated or virtual environments to see the impact that these new systems are going to have on the reliability and quality of the power. The grid simulator can actually emulate a distribution circuit on an electric utility and simulate electric utility feeder response. The ultimate goal of the project is to increase PV saturation without negatively impacting the distribution grid through modifying the behaviors of inverters.