Large number of renewable energy based distributed energy resources(DERs) are integrated into the conventional power grid using power electronic interfaces. This causes increased need for efficient power conversion, advanced control, and DER situational awareness. In case of photovoltaic(PV) grid integration, power is processed in two stages, namely DC-DC and DC-AC. In this work, two novel soft-switching schemes for quadratic boost DC-DC converters are proposed for PV microinverter application. Both the schemes allow the converter to operate at higher switching frequency, reducing the converter size while still maintaining high power conversion efficiency. Further, to analyze the impact of high penetration DERs on the power system a real-time simulation platform has been developed in this work. A real, large distribution feeder with more than 8000 buses is considered for investigation. The practical challenges in the implementation of a real-time simulation (such as number of buses, simulation time step, and computational burden) and the corresponding solutions are discussed. The feeder under study has a large number of DERs leading to more than 200% instantaneous PV penetration. Opal-RT ePHASORSIM model of the distribution feeder and different types of DER models are discussed in detailed in this work. A novel DER-Edge-Cloud based three-level architecture is proposed for achieving solar situational awareness for the system operators and for real-time control of DERs. This is accomplished using a network of customized edge-intelligent-devices(EIDs) and end-to-end solar energy optimization platform(eSEOP). The proposed architecture attains superior data resolution, data transfer rate and low latency for the end-to-end communication. An advanced PV string inverter with control and communication capabilities exceeding those of state-of-the-art, commercial inverters has been developed to demonstrate the proposed real-time control. A power-hardware-in-loop(PHIL) and EID-in-loop(EIL) testbeds are developed to verify the impact of large number of controllable DERs on the distribution system under different operational modes such as volt-VAr, constant reactive power and constant power factor. Edge level data analytics and intelligent controls such as autonomous reactive power allocation strategy are implemented using EIL testbed for real-time monitoring and control. Finally, virtual oscillator control(VOC) for grid forming inverters and its operation under different X/R conditions are explored.
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