Western Power Distribution have been working with SGC on Project SYNC (Solar Yield Network Constraints) with a view resolving some of the issues and concerns associated with the recent, substantial increase in embedded generation, in particular solar.
Included within the project scope are ways in which we may limit generation or increase load when the networks are constrained by the volume of exporting energy.
In addition to creating and testing schemes to manage the behaviour of our connected clients we are also investigating some key principals relating to more academic style observations including the underlying charging methods for distribution networks and in this case, the impact of cloud cover on power quality. It is often proposed that as we experience areas of high density solar generation such as large scale farms there could be problems when light levels change rapidly. Naturally this occurs continuously on bright but cloudy days as cloud cover over the solar farms fluctuates, but does this actually cause the problems that are suggested?
The study, authored in conjunction with Loughborough University we are now publishing about the impact of cloud cover on PV (Photovoltaic) considers the upstream impact of any variations on the PV output and whether this actually results in real issues on the network such as voltage instability or power quality issues.