"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solar Panels overloading electricity grid!

Any power system designer could have foreseen the problems with reverse feeding single phase power onto a distribution network. The system is just not designed for it  and when all solar panels in a street are at maximum output at midday the unbalanced power can saturate transformers with unpleasant results. The whole silly "rip off your neighbour" solar panel scheme needs to be scrapped as the electricity generated is incredibly expensive as shown in the US analysis below. In Queensland the solar costs are twice that shown because of the policy forcing retailers to buy solar at inflated prices of 10 times the cost of coal generation.

Bar graph comparing the total cost of electricity production per kWh between Nuclear, Coal, Natural Gas, Wind, Solar, and Hydro.
US Electricity Costs

THE runaway take-up of rooftop solar panels is undermining the quality of electricity supplies, feeding so much power back into the network that it is stressing the system and causing voltage rises that could damage household devices such as computers and televisions.
Power distribution lines and home wiring were designed for electricity to flow from power stations to appliances, but households with solar panels do the reverse of this.
One of Australia's biggest electricity network providers, Ausgrid, yesterday warned that there was a "significant likelihood" that costs would have to rise because of the impact of the solar photovoltaic cells.
In a letter to the NSW pricing regulator, obtained by The Australian, Ausgrid warns that in areas with a high concentration of solar cells, voltage levels can rise and this can have "consequences for appliances and equipment in customers' homes". It can also cause solar systems to switch off.
In Queensland, some new applications for rooftop solar systems have been rejected and Energex now urges customers to check that a solar PV system can be installed without threatening the operation of the network.
In Western Australia, Horizon Power has set limits on how much renewable energy can be installed in a system without affecting the power supply. Horizon is rejecting applications for new renewables installations in Exmouth and Carnarvon, and accepting them only from households, schools and not-for-profit organisations in Broome and Leonora.
Energex spokesman Mike Swanston said it was becoming difficult for electricity distribution authorities to set up the power system to ensure correct voltages when some houses in a street had solar and others did not.


  1. It must cause havoc with 11kV transformer tap-changers when bunches of clouds drift over an area full of PV systems feeding into different phases at midday in summer. But it's all part of the fun of Going Green.

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  4. The energy and heat from the sun is free. Once solar panels or solar thermal collectors are set up, there are no electrical expenses necessary to power them.

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