Best Practices for Microgrid Load Bank Testing

Microgrid power systems provide a network of users with a local source of electricity. Commonly, microgrids attach to the national grid, however, they can also function as a controlled island independently of the central power grid.

To ensure sufficient generation and distribution resources within your microgrid, you must conduct certain tests during commissioning and as part of an ongoing maintenance program. These tests can include resistive and reactive load testing, harmonics monitoring voltage ride through, and fault performance. Proper microgrid testing involves selecting the right load bank solutions for your application.

To properly load test microgrid power systems, you should consider these two critical best practices:

  1. Test the entire system as installed — Instead of testing individual components, load test the entire system. Wait until your entire installation is complete before you schedule the load test. Testing the complete installation provides the best way to ensure it performs as designed and with the highest level of system availability. You want to provide sufficient load to ensure sensors have enough current to operate.
  1. Consider how the test method affects transformers – Load imbalances can potentially damage transformers. Therefore, you need to carefully plan your testing process and load bank equipment selection to simulate actual conditions.

Safety Best Practices in Commissioning Microgrid Power Systems

Integrate safety protocols throughout the entire commissioning process, from planning through decommissioning. By using routinely maintenanced equipment and trained technicians, you ensure an incident-free project. Essential best practices for commissioning safety include:

  • Find a partner who conducts safety protocols. When selecting the right equipment, your load bank solutions provider should conduct a comprehensive safety and quality check on all equipment before shipping to the project site.
  • Conduct a survey of the job site for potential hazards and develop a site-specific Emergency Action Plan.
  • Identify all environmental impact or permitting needs during the procurement phase. You must account for equipment, cabling, and other necessary resources.
  • Your load bank solutions provider should ship all equipment securely and safely during deployment. Safely loading, unloading, and positioning of equipment becomes an essential part of the process. Account for all equipment identified in the planning and procurement process once delivered on-site.
  • Ensure your load bank provider’s technicians work seamlessly with your staff and third-party contractors to integrate equipment and processes safely. Technician certification offers peace-of-mind. You should confirm all technicians have completed an operations and safety training program.
  • Verify technicians are trained to identify potential risk with setup and the equipment before they become a problem. When issues do arise, technicians must quickly and safely perform the necessary diagnostics and repairs.
  • Continue safety protocols during decommissioning. The project isn’t over when you complete testing. During the decommissioning process, staff must safely roll-up cable and load equipment. After every job, complete a post-project review and safety assessment.

No substitute exists for testing microgrid technology at full power and actual load levels before implementation. If you follow these best practices, you can uncover problems before you begin live operation of microgrid power systems. Load bank testing reduces deployment risk and helps optimize the performance of the entire microgrid operation.

Download eBook for More Information

For a more detailed discussion on load testing of microgrid power systems, download ComRent’s latest eBook titled “Choosing a Load Bank for Microgrid Testing.” This resource will discuss the phenomenal growth of microgrids in the U.S., essential components of a microgrid, why you should load test microgrids, critical questions to answer before deploying load banks for microgrid testing, and what to look for in a load bank provider.

ComRent’s team of load bank experts helps ensure successful testing of your microgrid. We provide a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution to meet your requirements. Contact us today.

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