Malaysian researchers test demand response with residential PV systems

Increasing integration of intermittent energy sources has shifted focus to balancing supply and demand with a view to increasing operational flexibility and energy efficiency. Investigating the impact of demand response on low voltage networks with a PV system, researchers of the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) in Malaysia have showed how it can help improve the network performance in different scenarios.

Each of the three case studies was carried out based on 100 urban low-voltage network samples, and considered different degrees of demand response participation at varying levels of PV penetrations for a total of 10,000 network analyses.

In the first case study, consumers responded to their own demand profile without PV generation (e.g., they delayed using their washing machine until later in the evening). In the second, participants responded to their own PV-generation profiles. For them, demand response consisted of load shifting (e.g., taking a hot shower in the morning when local solar power is available). In the last case study, consumers considered both their own demand and PV generation profiles simultaneously (e.g., they decreased their use of air conditioning after receiving a signal from a central demand response optimizer).

The results suggested that with 100% PV penetration, direct response applications at a residential consumer level can achieve 32% peak reduction, reduce network losses by 42%, and achieve 12% load factor increment for the optimized demand response case.

“Although demand response provides notable benefits to the network, it cannot by itself fully unleash benefits of intermittent renewable energy, particularly when the output of generation is higher than the demand,” Gan said. “Demand response, therefore, coupled with the integration of energy storage and energy management systems would likely maximize the benefits of renewable energy in future energy systems.”

In sum, a demand response program at a household level could help the utilities to accommodate to a high level of distributed energy resources in the network without compromising the network performance and quality of service, demonstrates the research released in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.