Home > MSc Dissertation: Monontši Nthontho

MSc Dissertation: Monontši Nthontho


Nthontho, Monontši Paul. Smart Grid for Demand Side Management of Households by Integration of AMI and Solar PV Distributed Generators. MSc Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2012.


This thesis focuses on demand side management (DSM) of households. The thesis proposes two power grid enhancement DSM techniques to form a smart power grid. The two techniques are: a) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and b) solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on households and connected to the main grid. The aim of the AMI is to provide a two way communication between the utility and the energy consumers. It brings energy awareness to households by providing them with more detailed energy consumption information which helps them manage their energy better. Integration of grid-connected solar PV supplements energy that households draw from the national grid. It reduces load catered by the grid. It can also shave peak demand and hence delay need for large investment into new power stations.

This thesis investigated important issues concerning implementation of the proposed DSM programmes. It was identified from review of literature that a huge gap exists in implementation of wide area communication networks for AMI. Therefore AMI section of this dissertation proposes and simulates a MPLS network implementation for backhaul communication networks. The simulation is done on OPNET network simulator. Communication networks support information dissemination between utilities and their customers in a smart grid. Smart grids are characterised by bi-directional flow of both data and power between utility and its customers. That is, utilities sell power to the grid hence customers need for smart meters to know how much power they buy, when do they buy it most and how much the power cost them. Utilities also buy energy from households who have grid-connected DGs such as solar PV systems; they therefore need smart meters which provide them with information about the energy they purchase from these independent power producers.

The proposed grid-connected distributed generators are notorious of bringing unwanted disturbance to stability of the main power system. Hence protection and control are important issues. The thesis studies economic and technical viability of implementing grid-connected solar PV microgrids. The viability study attempts to find how much it costs the households to own one of these solar PV systems. The technical study sets to find a feasible configuration of the home-based solar PV systems. Meshed solar PV microgrids were found to be a viable option. However, they pose more challenges on power quality issues. Hence protection and control become harder. The thesis simulated differential protection scheme and proposed it as a good scheme for the meshed microgrids.