With the increasing penetration of Photovoltaic inverters, there is a necessity for recent PV inverters to have smart grid support features for increased power system reliability and security. The grid support features include voltage support, active and reactive power control. These support features mean that inverters should have bidirectional power and communication capabilities. The inverter should be able to communicate with the grid utility and other inverter modules.
This thesis studies the real time simulation of smart inverters using PLECS Real Time Box. The real time simulation is performed as a Controller Hardware in the Loop (CHIL) real time simulation. In this thesis, the power stage of the smart inverter is emulated in the PLECS Real Time Box and the controller stage of the inverter is programmed in the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) connected to the real time box. The power stage emulated in the real time box and the controller implemented in the DSP form a closed loop smart inverter.
This smart inverter, with power stage and controller together, is then connected to an OPAL-RT simulator which emulates the power distribution system of the Arizona State University Poly campus. The smart inverter then sends and receives commands to supply power and support the grid. The results of the smart inverter with the PLECS Real time box and the smart inverter connected to an emulated distribution system are discussed under various conditions based on the commands received by the smart inverter.