Solar energy is a source of free, clean energy which avoids the destructive effects on the environment that have long been caused by power generation. Solar energy technology rivals fossil fuels, and its development has increased recently. Photovoltaic (PV) solar farms can only produce active power during the day, while at night, they are completely idle. At the same time, though, active power should be supported by reactive power. Reactive power compensation in power systems improves power quality and stability. The use during the night of a PV solar farm inverter as a static synchronous compensator (or PV-STATCOM device) has recently been proposed which can improve system performance and increase the utility of a PV solar farm. In this paper, a method for optimal PV-STATCOM placement and sizing is proposed using empirical data. Considering the objectives of power loss and cost minimization as well as voltage improvement, two sub-problems of placement and sizing, respectively, are solved by a power loss index and adaptive particle swarm optimization (APSO). Test results show that APSO not only performs better in finding optimal solutions but also converges faster compared with bee colony optimization (BCO) and lightening search algorithm (LSA). Installation of a PV solar farm, STATCOM, and PV-STATCOM in a system are each evaluated in terms of efficiency and cost.
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