Autonomous reactive power support for smart photovoltaic inverter based on real-time grid-impedance measurements of a weak grid

Henrik Alenius, Roni Luhtala, Tuomas Messo, Tomi Roinila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


A large share of renewable energy production is connected to a weak grid with significant grid impedance. The transmission impedance causes unintended flow of reactive power to grid, coupling the grid reactive power to the active power fed from the inverter. The reactive power causes transmission losses, strains the grid with reactive power requirements, and can even compromise system stability. Requirements on reactive power support were recently imposed on new photovoltaic inverters, which are often implemented with proportional power factor control or droop control for local voltage regulation. The present work proposes a method for real-time compensation of the unintended reactive power, which decouples the reactive power from the active power of a photovoltaic inverter. Based on real-time measurement of the grid impedance, the unintended reactive power is estimated and autonomously compensated in the inverter. The method removes the fluctuating reactive power component, while still permitting unrestricted manual control of the reactive power. Unlike conventional methods, the proposed method requires no prior knowledge on grid impedance values or delicate tuning. The method outperforms conventional power factor control even when the conventional method is tuned optimally with known grid inductance. The method is validated with simulations and experiments on three-phase photovoltaic inverter connected to a weak grid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106207
Number of pages14
JournalElectric Power Systems Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Photovoltaic systems
  • Power conditioning
  • Power electronics
  • Power flow optimization
  • Reactive power control

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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