In study after study, we (Pterra) are encountering this seemingly mounting issue of ride-through capability in solar photovoltaic (“PV”) inverters. For now, the matter is isolated to frequency ride-through in small grids such as those that may be found in the Hawaiian islands. However, there is potential for this to be critical in even larger systems as the number of inverter-based PV arrays interconnecting to existing distribution and transmission systems increases.

The crux of the present issue relates to the frequency ride-through settings and capability for commercial PV inverters. The industry standard that addresses frequency settings for solar PV is IEEE standard 1547, Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems, which specifies that (for 60 Hz systems):

  • For inverters < 30 kW, trip at frequency < 59.3 Hz clearing in 0.16 sec
  • For inverters > 30 kW, trip at frequencies 57-59.8 Hz clearing in 0.16 to 300 sec (adjustable setpoint), or at frequency < 57 Hz clearing in 016 sec

Certain commercial PV inverters are equipped with extended frequency ride-through capability that will not trip until frequency drops below 55 Hz.