Feasibility Study of Integrating a 120MW Photovoltaic Power Plant into the Jamaica Power Grid
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Utility scale photovoltaic (PV) power plants are generally feasible in geographic areas exposed to greater than 3 kWh/m2/day of sun irradiance. Jamaica is suited to capitalize on this natural resource, with reported yield solar exposure of 5 - 7 kWh/m2/day and available lands to develop a utility-scale PV system to supply the island state’s existing grid. Currently, the challenges faced in Jamaica are grid management issues such as difficulty managing frequency and determining the reserve margin. These issues are deterrents to increasing the penetration of utility scale renewable generation. The present research aimed to combat these and other technical challenges through micro-grid simulations on a country scale. The paper will present a comparison between the technical outcomes of the conventional network configuration and the technical outcomes when conventional sources are replaced with PV integration. Three different model simulations were conducted using technically accepted parameters to assess system performance, as well as feasibility of network integration and finally, abnormal system responses. From the results obtained, a quantitative assessment was compiled to project technical recommendations. The outcome of phase 1 shows the optimum performance with 1-axis tracking. Results from phase 2 and 3 have indicated that the insertion of utility-scale PV corresponds to technical tolerance values that presently exist under conventional system. The data suggests the incorporation of grid reinforcement options will mitigate any congestion concerns due to reactive power compensation as well as strengthen fault mitigation schemes. The major implication of this study is to offer technical guidance in the process of increasing the penetration of utility-scale PV installation in Jamaica. This study is the first of its kind to incorporate these three assessment components to assess the integration of a utility-scale PV system.