pandapower: Open-source-tool for modelling, analyzing and optimizing power grids hits 500,000 downloads

pandapower is an easy-to-use tool for modelling, analyzing and optimizing power grids with a high degree of automation. It was developed at both the University of Kassel and the Fraunhofer IEE in Kassel. Thanks to its international use and integration into various processes, the software has already achieved 500,000 (partly automated) downloads since its release in 2016. Whether in Germany, Europe, the USA, China or many other countries around the world - pandapower is used by researchers and experts in companies alike and has established itself as one of the leading solutions in the energy sector.

"We are overwhelmed by the response that pandapower has received worldwide", says Prof. Dr. Martin Braun, who heads the Department of Energy Management and Power System Operation at the University of Kassel and is director of the Grid Planning and Grid Operation division at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology IEE. “Our goal was to create an easy-to-use yet powerful tool to help professionals analyze and optimize complex power grids. The success and demand for pandapower show that we have achieved this goal,” say lead developers Dr. Alexander Scheidler, Dr. Leon Thurner, Dr. Florian Schäfer and Roman Bolgaryn.

What makes pandapower so special? It is rooted in the combination of the Python libraries pandas (processing network elements and results in table structures) and pypower (a tool for calculating power flows). As independent open-source software under BSD license, pandapower offers unlimited freedom and flexibility for developers and users. By using the standard Python libraries, pandapower achieves high computing speeds on laptops, is portable to different operating systems and offers simple problem-shooting in the event of data errors. Converters are available for various network data formats (e.g. PowerFactory, CIM CGMES). Fraunhofer IEE offers support for other formats such as PSS Sincal, Neplan and Integral.

“pandapower provides an efficient, tried-and-tested basis for the software-based processing of our research projects.  It is used, for example, to calculate the status of the electricity grid as part of our automated grid planning and cross-sector operational optimization,” explains Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Zdrallek from the Chair of Electrical Power Supply Technology at the University of Wuppertal.

pandapower can be controlled using various scripts, such as the automated target grid planning system ANaPlan. "Using ANaPlan, Fraunhofer IEE offers analyses and developments of coupled grids for electricity, gas and heat, professional loss and grid protection studies, automated target grid planning (in accordance with §14d EnWG) and cross-voltage electricity grid planning (including with FACTS elements,” explains Dr. Anton Bergmann, Head of the Grid Planning Department at Fraunhofer IEE.

Growing international pandapower community

“One essential part of the MCCS project will be to provide capabilities and products for real-time and close-to-real-time Grid Calculation and Analysis. We decided to use pandapower as an integral part to tackle our first challenges, within the domain of optimization problems. The open-source library provides state-of-the-art accessibility, adaptability, and usability, which is very important for us. Further, the integrability with AI/ML libraries is a perfect fit with our long-term plans and vision for Grid Analysis solutions. Personally I´m happy to see the pandapower community growing. In my opinion, a strong community for an open-source library is a first step towards future developments and support,” summarizes Carsten Dietrich from the MCCS team at 50Hertz Transmission GmbH.

Patrick de Mars from UK Power Networks also emphasizes this: "As UK’s leading DNO and first independent DSO, UK Power Networks aims to enable Net Zero for all. A critical component in achieving this goal is to unlock our network data and information to facilitate independent network analysis.” The DSO believes that pandapower has an important role to play in enabling open-source access to network models and providing the tools for detailed network performance simulations. “This will assist customers in gaining a deeper understanding of how and where they can connect to our network, leading to faster and more efficient integration of low-carbon technologies whilst accelerating the shift towards net zero.”

The pandapower community is constantly contributing to growth through regular exchanges in workshops and training sessions. These events offer participants the opportunity to deepen their knowledge, discover new features of pandapower and learn from the experiences of other experts.

Ongoing development

With the ongoing further development of the open-source solution pandapipes by Fraunhofer IEE and the University of Kassel, the analysis and optimization of heat, gas and water networks is also supported.

In 2021, some employees of Fraunhofer IEE and the University of Kassel founded the Spin-Off Retoflow and are pursuing developments such as an interactive network editor, the integration of further networks for gas, water, heating, cooling, automated connection testing for electric vehicle charging stations, solar systems, or heat pumps as well as strategic long-term network development.

Summer School pandapower

Learn to use pandapower for your power system modelling, analysis and grid planning - with excellent guidance and through independent learning. 17.06. - 21.06.2024 | online

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