Southern California Edison (SCE) has begun an initiative to re-engineer traditional neighborhood power circuits in order to accept large amounts of fluctuating solar generation.
SCE explains that it is currently connecting large solar power stations to the middle of such circuits. To support this advance in distributed renewable generation, the utility's grid engineers have launched the first major redesign of this component of the traditional power delivery system.
Historically, these distribution circuits have been one-way routes for electricity channeled from neighborhood substations to some 1,200 nearby homes and businesses each. Components built into these power paths compensate for the natural drop-off in voltage, ensuring that the customer at the end of a circuit receives the same stable voltage supply as the one nearest the substation.
‘Power delivery engineers have long recognized that smarter distribution circuits would be needed – two-way power paths that include a new generation of components that can sense and adjust instantly to fluctuating power conditions,’ says Mike Montoya, SCE's director of grid advancement.
‘To support SCE's decision to install large solar generation stations, our grid engineers have begun identifying, testing and helping the industry create these smarter distribution circuit technologies,’ Montoya continues.
Lessons learned as SCE deploys its network of community solar plants and upgrades its power distribution system are being shared with other utilities and the solar sector to foster similar advances elsewhere, the utility adds.