NREL Partners with General Electric, Duke Energy on Grid Voltage Regulation Study

When a large solar photovoltaic (PV) system is connected to the electric grid, a utility’s centralized control system can regulate the voltages on the grid’s distribution feeder lines better than advanced inverters alone. That’s according to a new study by NREL, General Electric (GE) Grid Solutions, and Duke Energy.

Photo of two men looking at a large simulation of the electric grid

The project combined advanced software simulation, novel 3-D visualization, and lab-based hardware testing at megawatt scale, all enabled by the one-of-a-kind capabilities of the Energy System Integration Facility.

"This research highlights how coordinated voltage control can complement advanced inverters and enable cost-effective integration of very high penetrations of solar on the local distribution system," said NREL Engineer Bryan Palmintier, principal investigator on the project. "It is the first known study to show how coordinated voltage control can provide substantial improvements over advanced inverters alone.” 

For more information, read the technical report.