Investigating the Adoption of Ring Operation in LV Networks with PV Systems

  • Muhammed Sait Aydin

Student thesis: Phd


The ambitious governmental policies, particularly in Europe, in pursuit of established energy targets require an increase in distributed generation. As a result, photovoltaic (PV) technologies have emerged, predominantly at residential Low Voltage (LV) feeders. However, PV rich LV feeders are highly likely to pose technical challenges such as significant voltage rise and thermal overloading. This inevitably limits the volume of PV systems that can be hosted on LV feeders. Therefore, the deployment of solutions that can enable feeders to accommodate greater volumes of PV systems without having any technical issues is crucial. This thesis, consequently, thoroughly investigates one of the potential solutions: transforming the radial operation of LV feeders into ring operation. European-style LV feeders are typically operated in a radial fashion and yet are designed to be reconfigurable with neighbouring feeders. It is, therefore, essential to identify the best pairing option (of PV rich LV feeders) in a practical and straightforward manner due to the large number of existing LV feeders in a given Distribution Network Operator (DNO) area. This thesis proposes a generic innovative methodology to enable DNOs to straightforwardly identify the best pairing feeder; a decision-making tool to facilitate the rapid uptake of PV systems. To accomplish this goal, an impact assessment of a set of real residential LV feeders is carried out to identify the first technical issue/constraint that limits their hosting capacity. Next, regression analyses are carried out to gain an understanding of the relation between this first occurrence of technical issue/constraint and the corresponding level of PV penetration. The most practical and adequately accurate metric needs to be chosen. Feeders are then classified based on the range of metrics to cover all possible pairing cases. Finally, the ring operation of feeders in each class is analysed and hosting capacities are compared to those of radial ones. This process creates a practical matrix from which DNOs can easily identify the best pairing feeders. DNOs are likely to be hesitant to adopt permanent ring operation as it is not typically adopted in traditional LV feeders. Therefore, the switch located between feeders can be operated over time (i.e., dynamic ring operation) to reduce the duration for which ring operation is in place. It is, however, challenging to identify the most favourable control strategy. This thesis proposes different strategies for dynamic ring operation. Note that the most preferable control strategy is that which preserves the benefits of permanent ring operation with the minimum duration of ring operation and minimum number of switching. To achieve this, four different control strategies are explored-using different control cycles and considering hosting capacity, duration and switching. The best control strategy is found to be able to increase hosting capacity as permanent ring operation, reduce switching actions and minimise duration of ring operation compared to other proposed strategies and, crucially, operate ring operation only when it is truly needed. Finally, this thesis investigates the use of ring operation with an LV on-load tap changer (OLTC) as this is recently available voltage control technologies and is increasingly drawing the attention of DNOs. Two approaches are investigated to increase hosting capacity and limit ring operations: the use of the switch and OLTC are controlled separately using local measurements (i.e., localised) and their simultaneous control at the LV transformer level (i.e., centralised). The latter gives the priority to the OLTC to minimise the duration of the ring operation. The assessments are extended to cover an integrated medium and low voltage network to obtain more realistic results. The results show that centralised approach provides better performance considering hosting capacity, the number of switching/tap actions and the dura
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorLuis(Nando) Ochoa (Supervisor) & Kostas Kopsidas (Supervisor)


  • Ring operation
  • LV reconfiguration
  • Hosting capacity
  • Meshed operation
  • Low voltage networks
  • PV systems in LV networks

Cite this