Grid Integration and Advanced Inverters

Conducting innovative research to address technical barriers and support large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in grid-tied power systems.

Sandia’s grid integration and advanced inverter research involves modeling, analysis, system- and component-level performance validation, power electronics technology development, codes and standards, and reliability. This work draws from Sandia’s expertise in related disciplines, including microsystems, cybersecurity, energy storage, materials science, advanced controls, and high performance computing and optimization.

Sandia’s research in transmission and distribution grid integration provides analyses, models, tools, and algorithms that facilitate high penetration PV scenarios and reduce technical barriers to PV deployment utility planning and operations. Sandia’s capabilities include:

    • Developing simulation models for use in power flow, dynamic, short circuit, and electro-magnetic studies and grid planning
    • Researching and developing analysis tools to examine a range of bulk power integration scenarios, and making the resulting data available to facilitate evaluation of the cost and reliability implications of high penetration solar scenarios
    • Analyzing the technical feasibility of high PV deployment scenarios and related impacts on the electric system
    • Identifying and validating cost-effective mitigation strategies for adverse grid impacts
    • Creating new methodologies to simulate high resolution, time-synchronized PV output to facilitate analysis of PV impacts on grid planning and operations
    • Engaging stakeholders on grid interconnection to encourage the adoption of new interconnection screening processes and best practices guidelines for cost-effective mitigation of system impacts
    • Evaluating and supporting best practices for PV systems planning and operations
    • Researching and developing innovations and next generation technologies such as Virtual Power Plants
Sandia’s research and development activities in advanced inverters model, test, and analyze advanced inverter functions that can support robust operation of the electricity grid, such as voltage regulation, frequency regulation, and voltage ride-through. Sandia’s capabilities include:

    • Developing and evaluating test protocols for advanced inverter interoperability functions
    • Researching advanced inverter functions, including low and high voltage ride-through, anti-islanding, low and high frequency ride-through, dynamic volt/VAr operations, and ramp rates
    • Supporting development of certification procedures, such as for California Rule 21 functions with the Underwriters Laboratories UL 1741 Standards Technical Panel
    • Investigating control- and communication-based solutions for anti-islanding, e.g., optimization of control parameters