Hot-swappable and High-efficient Grid-connected Power Electronics System for Photovoltaic Modules

Summary

This project involves the analysis of hot-swappable and high-efficient grid-connected power electronics system for photovoltaic modules.

Supervisor(s)

Dr Dylan Lu

Research Location

Electrical and Information Engineering

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

In the present market, power electronics system design of the majority of grid-connected solar systems is based on centralized inverters that interface with a large number of photovoltaic (PV) modules, which arranged in an array form, to the grid. This centralized inverter performs maximum power point tracking (MPPT), DC-to-AC inversion and AC current injection to the grid. Despite normally high maximum inverter efficiency (above 90%), the mismatch losses between the PV modules degrade the overall efficiency of the solar system. In addition, in order to stabilize MPPT and maximize PV utilization, large electrolytic capacitors are used to filter the voltage ripple. Comparing to the magnetics and semiconductors, the lifetime of electrolytic capacitor is much shorter and its lifetime reduces by half per 1°rise. These problems limit the available energy intake and lifetime of the system when an increasing number of grid-connect solar systems are being installed and operating with this configuration. The objectives of the project are:to study a new grid-connected power electronics system to eliminate mismatch losses between PV panel modules; to systematically synthesize a new family of practical high-efficient power converters, which do not need electrolytic capacitors, to lengthen the lifetime of the system; to develop a hot-swappable power electronics interface for PV modules so that failure of any module will not affect the normal operation of the system. The failed module can be replaced by a new one during system operation. This feature is a must-have for future solar system when the dependence of solar power for total power generation increases. The reliability of solar system must be ensured. The interface also enhances standardization and modular design that the PV modules can be just plugged into the interface as “plug-and-run”, and lowers manufacturing cost in the long run.

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Keywords

DC/AC, Efficiency, Grid Connected, Photovoltaic, Power Converters, Switching Power Supplies, renewable energy, power electronics

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 297

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