E2E > TB 672. Power quality aspects of solar power

TB 672. Power quality aspects of solar power [How do photovoltaics change your voltage waveform]


There has recently been a huge increase in the amount of solar power connected to the grid and this trend is expected to continue and even grow during the coming years. A possible concern with the connection of solar-power installations is their potential impact on the voltage and current quality in the grid. The principle aim of this TB is a mapping and quantification of that impact where it concerns power quality disturbances. As part of this effort, an industry survey is also performed gathering experiences from around the world.


Photovoltaic installations can have major effects on the network with regard to power quality.  The following points are covered in the brochure and are important to consider for any installation of PV.


  • Characteristic harmonics (odd harmonics up to 2 kHz for single-phase installations; odd non-triple harmonics for three-phase installations).
  • Low-order non-characteristic harmonics (even harmonics and inter-harmonics up to 2 kHz, also odd triple harmonics for three-phase installations)
  • High-frequency distortion (frequency-components in the frequency range 2 to 150 kHz)
  • Single rapid voltage changes, flicker and other voltage-magnitude variations at time scales below 10 minutes.
  • Unbalance due to single-phase installations
  • Supply voltage variations at time scales of 10 minutes and longer
  • Consideration was also given to two additional phenomena that distribution planners have found to be of high concern:
  • Overvoltage occurrences due to normal operation of solar power
  • Sudden disconnection of PV installations and the impact of this disconnection on transient and temporary overvoltages


The above criteria are analysed in detail as well as recommendations for each criteria that should be implemented.  Details of inverter performance from manufacturers is also considered desirable to ensure an accurate model of the effect of PV on the network is obtained.

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