The growth of penetration of Distributed Generators (DGs) is increasing the risk of unwanted islanded operation in Low Voltage (LV) distribution systems. In this scenario, the existing anti-islanding protection systems, installed at the DG premises and based on classical voltage and frequency relays, are no longer effective, especially in the cases of islands characterized by a close match between generation and load. In this paper, a new protection system for islanding detection in LV distribution systems is proposed. The classical voltage and frequency relays in the DG interface protections are enriched with an innovative Smart Islanding Detector, which adopts a new passive islanding detection method. The aim is to keep the advantages of the classical relays while overcoming the problem of their limited sensitivity in detecting balanced islands. In the paper, to define the requirements of the anti-islanding protection system, the events causing the islanded operation of the LV distribution systems are firstly identified and classified. Then, referring to proposed protection system, its architecture and operation are described and, eventually, its performance is analyzed and validated by experimental laboratory tests, carried out with a hardware-in-the-loop technique.
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