Vinicius C. Cunha, Taehyung Kim, Piyapath Siratarnsophon, Nicholas Barry, Surya Santoso, and Walmir Freitas
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Recent advances in inverter-based distributed energy resources (DERs) allow microgrids to operate in grid-connected and islanded modes with ease. However, determining a steady-state load flow solution of a real-world unbalanced and islanded three-phase microgrid remains a challenge. Existing methods are either unsuitable, labor-intensive or computationally demanding for a long-term analysis of islanded microgrids. To address these issues, we propose a practical solution framework that employs externally-updated system frequency, power quantities, and droop characteristics governing the voltage and phase angle of DERs in every iteration as inputs to an off-the-shelf open-source multi-phase, multi-wire, unbalanced power flow software tool to solve an islanded-microgrid power flow. Using our framework, users only need to implement a set of droop equations and update system variables. The power flow solution is accomplished entirely by an off-the-shelf power flow tool, e.g., OpenDSS. Our proposed framework can model a microgrid of any arbitrary configuration and operating condition. We demonstrate and validate the proposed method's efficacy by comparing its results with those modeled using a time-domain simulation with PSCAD/EMTDC. Finally, an example of a quasi-static time-series study is presented to better illustrate the application of such a tool.