A microgrid operates while connected to the central power grid. However, it can work on its own during power outages. Conduct load bank testing of all microgrid components to ensure the highest level of performance and reliability.
Components of a Microgrid
Distributed generators, batteries, and renewable resources like solar panels and wind turbines typically are components of a microgrid. In addition to these power generation sources, microgrids include local loads, electrical switching gear, and possibly inverters and energy storage.
Local generation and storage assets may or may not be coupled with energy storage for controlled release of power to the islanded network. Also, a microgrid offers a dedicated and resilient distribution network that controls the external EPS connection. It provides protection from unsafe voltage, frequency, and current fluctuations within the islanded network.
Through a control system that complies with IEEE P1547 revision of interconnection standard for intentional islanding requirements, a microgrid seamlessly connects and disconnects to the area EPS. The control system helps balance load and coordinates generation resources within the islanded network. It can also maintain sensory communications with the external EPS. It reacts to EPS conditions, meets interconnection requirements, and determines when to reconnect safely.
Why Conduct Load Testing of Microgrid Components
Load testing confirms the different technologies integrated within a microgrid interoperate. By properly testing microgrid components, you can improve stability, efficiency, security, and reliability of your operation. Load testing before implementation also has a positive impact on safety, cost savings, and scheduling.
Load testing microgrid components address numerous functions:
- Control System Performance – Control systems act as the interface with the external power system to determine when it is safe to reconnect. Because they are more sensitive to load changes and network disruptions, microgrid control systems require load testing to ensure stable operation.
This load testing confirms all networked components operate as intended and comply with regulatory standards. Testing allows you to balance power generation with load demand, as well as verify synchronization with the external network.
- Power Generation – Load testing verifies generation resources respond safely to load and power factor changes.
- Disconnecting and Reconnecting from the External EPS – By load testing microgrid components, you can ensure the voltage, frequency, and current parameters at critical nodes fall within safe limits. When they do, the microgrid remains stable while transitioning from the EPS to local operations.
- IEEE 1547 Compliance – Currently, IEEE 1547-2003, “Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems,” offers the primary guide for microgrid operations. However, this standard doesn’t cover all aspects of microgrid operations, leaving microgrid-specific performance requirements uncertain and your project execution at risk. Testing microgrid components and as a system will help you meet the future standards IEEE intends to develop specifically for microgrids.
- Voltage Fluctuations and Faults – You can test a dynamic microgrid with a reactive component to the simulated load to correctly determine handling of voltage fluctuations and faults on the external EPS.
Microgrids come in a variety of designs and sizes. They can power a single facility or a large area like a city or college campus. Given a microgrid’s critical function in supplying power to a local network, it must involve comprehensive testing before implementation. Load testing microgrid components ensure your operation meets performance and business goals.
Download eBook for More Information
For a more detailed discussion on load testing microgrid components, 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.