Georgia Power and the Electric Power Research Institute are conducting an 18-month study to evaluate how solar photovoltaic power systems may affect the utility’s distribution system.

Fifty PV systems are being installed in seven cities around the state. Seven to eight small systems will be installed on one distribution line in each city. Sites were identified based on a number of environmental parameters. Selecting cities around the state will allow evaluation of a variety of conditions such as temperature, cloud cover and solar intensity, a news release said.

EPRI will monitor each module’s power output and sunlight input at one-second intervals for 18 months to determine how much electricity they generate and how well they perform under diverse weather conditions. The panels will remain in place at the end of the project and Georgia Power will continue to monitor long-term results.

The news release said the research will help to identify the effects, if any, on operation of Georgia Power’s distribution system, understand the feasibility of widespread solar PV installations on distribution lines, determine ranges for overall PV performance in Georgia and characterize and compare variable issues such as passing clouds.

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