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Design and Installation
Utility Interconnection

Utility-Scale Solar PV and Distribution Voltage Challenges - Self Study

Tim Taylor • Last updated 09/2023

4.7/5 (view ratings)
1129 students
2 modules
1:25 hours
12 assignments

Course description

Approved for 1 NABCEP CEU!

The application of high penetrations of solar PV on utility distribution feeders can create challenges for the distribution organization to supply acceptable voltages on the feeder. As a result, the distribution organization may require voltage issue mitigation measures, including feeder infrastructure improvements, to be performed before additional solar PV capacity can be installed on a feeder. The solar PV developer usually has the responsibility to fund at least part of the improvements.

The following topics are covered in this beginning-level technical course:

  • Overview of a utility distribution feeder and the utility’s responsibility to provide adequate voltage for all customers.
  • Types of voltage issues that can be created by utility-scale solar PV
  • Typical voltage mitigation measures that have been applied
  • A brief description of smart inverters which are now being applied in some states/jurisdictions and have demonstrated a number of capabilities, including voltage regulation and voltage ride-through for system events
  • Hosting Capacity Analysis, which a number of states are now requiring from utilities. Hosting Capacity Analysis gives an indication of the amount and location of solar PV that can be placed on feeders without violating specific operating constraints on the feeders, including acceptable voltage ranges and deviations.

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Continuing Education Units

Approved for: NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours, NABCEP NEC, NABCEP JTA, NABCEP RE Elective, NABCEP PV Associate Renewal.

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours
NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
1 1 0 1 1 0
0 1 0 0 0 0
1 1 0 1 1 0
1 1 0 1 1 0
1 1 0 1 1 0
1 1 0 1 1 0
NABCEP Registered Provider

This course counts towards the training requirements for taking NABCEP professional certification exams and CEUs for renewing all certifications.

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Full course outline

Module 1 - Utility-Scale Solar PV and Distribution Voltage Challenges

  • Welcome - Brittany Heller, HeatSpring (01:43 minutes)
  • Presentation - Tim Taylor, Electrical Distribution Academy (01:03:28 hours)
  • Optional - Download the slides for Tim's presentation (.pdf)
  • Totally optional: iPhone App for taking this class (50 seconds)
Module 2 - Optional Q&A Discussion

  • Can smart inverters solve for rapid voltage change mitigation? (04:40 minutes)
  • Are there any sources / references of a grounding transformer basic considerations to properly define them? (02:11 minutes)
  • Which 1547 advanced inverter functions are most useful for managing voltage and current on distribution circuits? (07:35 minutes)
  • Do you recommend increasing neutral size in utilities with PV system? (01:57 minutes)
  • Can regulators with more modern electronic control provide better control to avoid excessive single-step operation where there is a bandwidth issue? (02:12 minutes)
  • What type of earthing system you can recommend for pv system setup? (01:17 minutes)


Tim Taylor

Owner and Managing Director, Electric Distribution Academy

Tim is Owner and Managing Director of Electric Distribution Academy and has over 30 years of experience in distribution system engineering. He’s led and participated in many projects with many North American utilities and has also worked in Europe and Latin American. In addition to papers, articles, and conference presentations, he has served as an instructor for... Learn more


316 reviews

1,129 students have taken this course

by GARY ARAUJO 07/04/2022

Very interesting the contribution of solar energy systems in the electrical distribution networks

by Shirley Powers 06/21/2022

Great course. I'd recommend this to anyone working with utilities requiring smart inverter configuration and it also helps explain why certain PV installations, even at smaller than utility scale, require upgrades to the utility.

by Scott Sousa, Sunation Solar Systems Inc. 06/08/2022

I would highly recommend this to DG developers who do not understand the utilities pushback.

by Durosca Jean-Michel 10/13/2023

This help to understand obstacle when adding a DER on the distribution feeder.

by Ahmed Mamdouh 09/25/2023


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Frequently asked questions

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