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An Overview of Islanding Detection Methods in Photovoltaic Systems

Authors: Wei Yee Teoh, Chee Wei Tan


The issue of unintentional islanding in PV grid interconnection still remains as a challenge in grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems. This paper discusses the overview of popularly used anti-islanding detection methods, practically applied in PV grid-connected systems. Anti-islanding methods generally can be classified into four major groups, which include passive methods, active methods, hybrid methods and communication base methods. Active methods have been the preferred detection technique over the years due to very small non-detected zone (NDZ) in small scale distribution generation. Passive method is comparatively simpler than active method in terms of circuitry and operations. However, it suffers from large NDZ that significantly reduces its performance. Communication base methods inherit the advantages of active and passive methods with reduced drawbacks. Hybrid method which evolved from the combination of both active and passive methods has been proven to achieve accurate anti-islanding detection by many researchers. For each of the studied anti-islanding methods, the operation analysis is described while the advantages and disadvantages are compared and discussed. It is difficult to pinpoint a generic method for a specific application, because most of the methods discussed are governed by the nature of application and system dependent elements. This study concludes that the setup and operation cost is the vital factor for anti-islanding method selection in order to achieve minimal compromising between cost and system quality.

Keywords: Active method, hybrid method, islanding detection, passive method, photovoltaic (PV), utility method

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