Hawaiian Electric Company Deploys Gridco Systems Technology to Help Increase PV Hosting Capacity of Distribution Grid Leverage Installed Asset Base

News release issued by Gridco Systems

Mitigation of voltage swings eliminates a key barrier to solar integration

Release Date: 2/1/2016

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Woburn, Mass., February 1, 2016 - Gridco Systems, a leader in agile grid infrastructure solutions, announced today that Hawaiian Electric Company has deployed the Gridco Systems In-Line Power Regulator™ (IPR) to enable integration of increasing levels of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Gridco IPRs help maintain reliable power delivery within required voltage limits, supporting Hawaiian Electric’s goal to triple distributed generation on its system by 2030.

Rooftop PV is an important part of the utility’s clean energy portfolio and Hawaiian Electric leads the nation in installed PV per customer. However, this can present challenges.

For example, since rooftop PV systems provide little or no information to system operators, maintaining the steady 60 Hz frequency needed for reliable power delivery is increasingly difficult. A circuit that is saturated with PV also strains the grid as it adds electricity when demand isn’t there. This causes voltage on the affected circuits to be higher than intended, sometimes sending power flowing back through transformers to substations not designed to support it.

“We work in concert with our planning groups within Hawaiian Electric to investigate new technologies and products, such as the Gridco Systems In-line Power Regulator, to better see and manage what’s happening on the grid,” said Dr. Dora Nakafuji, director of renewable energy planning for Hawaiian Electric.

In February 2015 crews installed pole-mounted IPRs on an overhead line identified by Gridco’s modeling team, in collaboration with Hawaiian Electric engineers, as having voltage issues due to high rooftop PV penetration.

“With high-penetration PV on our lines, we see high voltage or back-feed conditions on some circuits,” Nakafuji said. “The Gridco IPR allows us to see what is actually happening right at the pole that serves a cluster of customers. At the same time, it allows us to regulate voltage at that location as needed, based on how much power the PV systems are producing and power consumption by customers at the time of day.

“Gridco’s IPR gives us real-time visibility to the edge of our grid,” Nakafuji added. “We can actually get measurements down to the pole closest to the customer load where voltage issues might be occurring. This tells us very specifically what we need to do to manage for those conditions, without affecting everybody on the circuit.

“Distributed PV can impact a specific section of an electrical circuit without affecting the entire circuit. Traditional controls don’t allow for that fine level of control, so raising or lowering the voltage on a line may help some customers but cause problems for others,” she said.

“Maximizing the distribution system’s PV hosting capacity at the lowest cost is a core function of an economically sustainable clean energy ecosystem,” said Naimish Patel, CEO of Gridco Systems. “We are delighted to be working with Hawaiian Electric Company to help them meet their RPS targets while maintaining system reliability in a cost-effective way.”

To learn more about the Hawaiian Electric installation, see the video on YouTube: Testing new technologies to integrate more renewables - Gridco Systems IPR.

To learn more about the company’s full suite of utility solutions, including the IPR-50, visit Gridco Systems at DistribuTECH 2016, booth #2125, and online at http://gridcosystems.com/. Additionally, the company will be presenting on a panel entitled: “Rethinking the Grid Edge - New Approaches and Strategies to Secondary Management for Improved Grid Efficiency and DER Hosting Capacity,” on Thursday, February 11th.

About Gridco Systems
Gridco Systems is a leader in agile grid infrastructure solutions, enabling utilities to more effectively integrate renewable and distributed generation, increase energy efficiency, manage peak capacity, and improve system reliability. The Gridco Systems emPower™ Solution combines modular power electronics, advanced controls, distributed networking, and power system analytics to deliver the industry’s only end-to-end hardware and software platform purpose built to solve utilities’ current and emerging distribution challenges in a distributed, dynamic, and decoupled fashion. To learn more, please visit http://gridcosystems.com.

Gridco Systems® is a registered trademark of Gridco Systems.
Gridco Systems In-Line Power Regulator™ and the Gridco Systems emPower™ Solution are trademarks of Gridco Systems.

About Hawaiian Electric
Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light, serve the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Hawaii, home to 95 percent of the population of the State of Hawaii. Hawaiian Electric's parent company is Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE). In a changing world, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are taking the lead in adding renewable energy and developing energy solutions for its customers to achieve a clean energy future for Hawai‘i. For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com.

Media and Analyst inquiries:
Joanna Hamblin
Marketing Manager
Gridco Systems

Peter Rosegg
Corporate Communications
Hawaiian Electric Compnay