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What are the opportunities for solar PV farms to connect directly to the medium voltage networks in NSW

Bickford, David (2016) What are the opportunities for solar PV farms to connect directly to the medium voltage networks in NSW. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Global policies are in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and limit temperature rises to 2C by 2100. As Australia has a heavy reliance on coal fired power generators, a shortage of electricity in the future is a predictable outcome. Australia needs to tap other sources of energy to generate electricity.

This paper explores the feasibility of two hypothetical solar farms, one in Sydney and one in country NSW, with and without battery storage systems, to connect to the medium voltage networks in the NEM. The focus of the literature review, and the methodologies, is on the current technical rules for connecting a solar farm to the medium voltage networks; the line capacity, load size and the available land area to size the farm; community support; and the economic feasibility, with and without batteries, taking into account the solar resource, capital costs and the electricity sale price.

If the solar farms connected to medium voltage networks are technically, socially and financially feasible, then that is useful information for investors, policy makers and other interested parties. The individual solar farm in country NSW was feasible, although too much variable generation can cause system unreliability. Adding battery storage increased the costs, although less than expected. Solar farms connected to medium voltage networks, and battery storage to manage the variability, belong in the mix of options Australia should consider, to provide electricity.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor: Gao, Xianpeng
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