Fault contribution from large photovoltaic systems in building power supply networks

Subhashish Bhattacharya, Tapan Saha*, M. J. Hossain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a detailed analysis for determining the impact of adding large three phase photovoltaic (PV) systems in secondary (building) power distribution networks. The analysis highlights the protection relay coordination problems arising due to the increase in network fault levels caused due to the contribution from PV generators. A typical distribution network for power supply to large buildings with multiple apartments in a housing complex has been modeled and used as a test network. Simulation result shows that the magnitude of fault current contribution from PV system depends on a number of different factors, not only on the size of the PV system. The analysis emphasizes the requirement to review protection settings of similar installations prior to connection of PV generators to the network and suggests a method of protection coordination to minimize the requirement of reviewing the protection setting every time a new PV system is connected to the distribution network. It is found that fault current contribution from PV systems, depending on the size, can cause significant relay coordination problems in terms of discrimination and thereby reduce system reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Air circuit breaker (ACB)
  • Fault current
  • Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
  • Inverter
  • Main distribution board (MDB)
  • Moulded case circuit breaker (MCCB)
  • Photovoltaic (PV) system
  • Time current coordination (TCC)


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