Impact of Reverse Power Flow on Distributed Transformers in a Solar-Photovoltaic-Integrated Low-Voltage Network

Issah Babatunde Majeed, Nnamdi I. Nwulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Modern low-voltage distribution systems necessitate solar photovoltaic (PV) penetration. One of the primary concerns with this grid-connected PV system is overloading due to reverse power flow, which degrades the life of distribution transformers. This study investigates transformer overload issues due to reverse power flow in a low-voltage network with high PV penetration. A simulation model of a real urban electricity company in Ghana is investigated against various PV penetration levels by load flows with ETAP software. The impact of reverse power flow on the radial network transformer loadings is examined for high PV penetrations. Using the least squares method, simulation results are modelled in Excel software. Transformer backflow limitations are determined by correlating operating loads with PV penetration. At high PV penetration, the models predict reverse power flow into the transformer. Interpolations from the correlation models show transformer backflow operating limits of 78.04 kVA and 24.77% at the threshold of reverse power flow. These limits correspond to a maximum PV penetration limit of 88.30%. In low-voltage networks with high PV penetration; therefore, planners should consider transformer overload limits caused by reverse power flow, which degrades transformer life. This helps select control schemes near substation transformers to limit reverse power flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9238
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • grid integration
  • low-voltage network
  • penetration levels
  • reverse power flow
  • simulation data
  • solar photovoltaic
  • substation transformer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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