IPlug: Decentralised dispatch of distributed generation
With advances in solar photovoltaic technology and decreasing costs of panels, solar energy is considered as an economical and sustainable solution for growing energy demands, especially in countries such as India with high insolation levels. However, key challenges exist in large scale adoption of distributed solar generation. Firstly, there are concerns related to breach of voltage regulations and system instabilities caused by distributed generation. Secondly, there are challenges in providing robust communication infrastructure for utilities to actively control and dispatch distributed generation. We address these challenges by designing a decentralised controller iPlug, which involves voltage-sensitive back-off of the level of solar capacity injection into the grid and is inspired by the CSMA protocol from Networking literature. This is done in conjunction with other resources like local batteries and local demand ramp-up resources. iPlug functions are complementary to emerging microinverter technologies and could in principle be incorporated into either the inverter controls or battery and home energy management control systems. We present preliminary results from simulation-based evaluation of iPlug algorithms and compare it with static PV injection strategies.