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Inverter performance problems in PV power plants

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By Roland Singer, Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany

Power oscillation | In the last few years the power rating of PV power plants has risen very quickly to values reaching several hundred megawatts. This means there are hundreds, or even thousands, of inverters operating in parallel in these plants. Furthermore, these large-scale PV power plants are often built far away from cities and are therefore connected to the grid via long transmission lines. This leads to weak grid conditions in the power plants, and these conditions give rise to the risk of electrical instabilities within the plant, or instabilities of the plant within the grid. Roland Singer of Fraunhofer ISE explains how these electrical instabilities can be detected and counteracted.

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For those in the utility solar business, 2015 has so far offered no shortage of landmarks. Since the start of the year, the record for the world’s largest PV power plant has been both equalled and beaten, with the completion in the US of the Desert Sunlight and Solar Star projects respectively. The industry has also notched up two important pricing milestones. In January 2015, news broke that a project in Dubai had attracted what was thought to be the lowest ever bid price for a solar project, of US$0.0585/kWh. That record proved short lived, however, when, in July, US firm First Solar revealed it had agreed to a price of US$0.0387/kWh for power from its 100MW Playa Solar 2 project in Nevada.

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