Significant changes in conventional generator operation and transmission system planning will be required to accommodate increasing solar photovoltaic (PV) penetration. There is a limit to the maximum amount of solar that can be connected in a service area without the need for significant upgrades to the existing generation and transmission infrastructure. This study proposes a framework for analyzing the impact of increasing solar penetration on generation and transmission networks while considering the responses of conventional generators to changes in solar PV output power. Contrary to traditional approaches in which it is assumed that generation can always match demand, this framework employs a detailed minute-to-minute (M-M) dispatch model capable of capturing the impact of renewable intermittency and estimating the over- and under-generation dispatch scenarios due to solar volatility and surplus generation. The impact of high solar PV penetration was evaluated on a modified benchmark model, which includes generators with defined characteristics including unit ramp rates, heat rates, operation cost curves, and minimum and maximum generation limits. The PV hosting capacity, defined as the maximum solar PV penetration the system can support without substantial generation imbalances, transmission bus voltage, or thermal violation was estimated for the example transmission circuit considered. The results of the study indicate that increasing solar penetration may lead to a substantial increase in generation imbalances and the maximum solar PV system that can be connected to a transmission circuit varies based on the point of interconnection, load, and the connected generator specifications and responses.

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Published in Energies, v. 14, issue 1, 169.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities, part of the PPL Corporation family of companies.