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IEEE ICONCE Print ISBN: 978-1-4799-3339-6

Proceedings of 2014 1st International Conference on Non Conventional Energy (ICONCE 2014)

A Unique Model of Characterization & Performance


Estimation of Various Solar Photovoltaic
Cells/Modules Using Microcontroller
Rakesh Naskar1

Partha Das2

Department of Electrical Engineering


lIS College of Engineering
Kalyani, India

Department of Electrical Engineering


lIS College of Engineering
Kalyani, India

I rakesnaskar@yahoo.in

2parthadasee@gmail.com

Abstract-At the end of the solar module manufacturing


process,

current Imp and voltage Vmp at the maximum power point and the

Isc and Voc points, where the power will be zero and the

maximum value of power will occur between the two. The Fill
Factor (FF) is essentially a measure of quality of the solar sell.
When calculated the performance of the solar cell from I-V
Characteristics using the conventional method, it was found that
noise caused the I-V curves to zigzag slightly near the Voc and
to zigzag widely near the 'knee' of the curve. Defining the exact
of

solar

Module's

parameters

is

called

Module's

Characterization. So in this paper the authors are tried to


minimized the noise ofI-V curve to get the highest power output
using Automatic electronic load regulator and also find out a real
value of Isc and Voc points from the I-V curve ploUing using
ATMEGA Microcontroller.
Keywords-Solar cell, I-V characteristics, Automatic Voltage
Regulator, Microcontroller (ATMEGA-168).

I.

INTRODUCTION

Since the outbreak of the world economic crisis in 1973,


the use of solar cells for the electricity generation has been
more and more in the focus of attention. Worldwide, more
than 1600 PV solar plants of smaller or greater power have
been installed on the ground. Most developed countries legally
regulate the possibility of generating and selling of the
electrical energy generated in PV solar plants. The use of solar
energy contributes to more efficient use of countries' own
potentials in producing electrical and thermal energy,
reduction of the greenhouse gas emission, lowering of the
import rates and the use of fossil fuels, as well as to the
development of the local industries and an increase in new job
creation [1].
In terms of energy consumption India is one of the fastest
growing countries. The country is heavily depends on fossil
fuels. At present it is fifth largest consumer of energy in the
world [1, 2]. It is believed that the geographical location of
India allows the country to receive well over 5000 trillion
kWh of pure solar energy each year [3], which is far beyond
the annual power consumption of India. With the help of the
solar cells and solar panels it is possible to generate electricity
in areas where the exposure to sun is comparatively lesser.

978-1-4799-3340-2/14/$31.00 2014 IEEE

School of Energy Studies,


ladavpur University Kolkata,
West Bengal, India

3ratan_mandaI99@yahoo.co.in

The launch of lawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission


(JNNSM) has created a lot of interest in the Indian solar sector
[3].
The earlier uses of photovoltaic system were mainly in the
area of decentralized power generation for different purpose.
Later the use of PV spread over a number of field. But the
systems available in the market were neither reliable nor
within the reach of common people due to its high cost.
However, attempts have also been made, principally by
research scholars to boost the efficiency of PV systems. But
the problem is efficiency of solar cell is comparatively very
low. Recent progress in the development of polymer solar
cells has improved power-conversion efficiencies from 3% to
almost 9%. Based on semiconducting polymers, these solar
cells are fabricated from solution-processing techniques and
have unique prospects for achieving low-cost solar energy
harvesting, owing to their material and manufacturing
advantages. Now, there are many manufacturers of solar
photovoltaic cell systems of different category in the market.
Therefore, there must be a unique method and standard to
justifY the quality of solar cell and its suitability in different
climate condition. In this paper the authors are tried to develop
a unique model for characterization of SPY module by using
microcontroller.

an I-V measurement is performed under different

illumination of each individual solar module to determine its

value

Ratan Mandal3

II.

SOLAR CELL EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT

Among other significant parameters of solar cells that can


be extracted from the I-V curves are the equivalent series and
parallel resistances [5]. The Fig-1 shows the simplified
equivalent circuit of a solar cell. The value of series resistance
Rs, is typically much lower than the parallel resistance Rsh. For
the ideal solar cell series resistance (Rs) would be zero and
parallel resistance (Rsh) would be infinite. Since the effect of Rs
is negligible near open circuit condition , the slope of the I-V
curve in that vicinity is an indicator of the value R,h
Conversely , since the effect of Rsh is negligible near short
circuit condition, the slope of the I-V curve in that vicinity is
an indicator of the value Rs . If the illumination applied to the
solar cell during the I-V test representative of solar radiation it
receives in the field, then the maximum efficiency of the solar
cell may be calculated as the ratio of Pm to the optimal power
incident on the solar cell.
ax

ICONCE 2014
January 16 - 17, 2014, Kalyani,

WE,

India

IEEE ICONCE Print ISBN: 978-1-4799-3339-6

Proceedings of 2014 1st International Conference on Non Conventional Energy (ICONCE 2014)

p I
VC I

r-

------------------------

allowing less light to reach the PV cells. Also there is a


mismatch effect due to non-uniform shading [5].

r,

Isc

r",

I-V curve
Shunt -

losses

g
c

Max Power
---

,
,
,

::l

Fig. I. Solar cell equivalent circuit.

III.

Ise

a;
;:

Mismatch losses',
\

0
Q.

(inCl. shading)

SOLAR 1- V CHARACTERISTICS

The 1- V (current-voltage) curve of a PV string (or module)


describes its energy conversion capability at the existing
conditions of irradiance (light level) and temperature.
Conceptually, the curve represents the combinations of current
and voltage at which the string could be operated or 'loaded' ,
if the irradiance and cell temperature could be held constant.
Figure 2 shows a typical I-V curve, the power-voltage or P-V
curve that is computed from it, and key points on these curves.
Referring from Figure 2, the span of the I-V curve ranges
from the short circuit current (Ise) at zero volts, to zero current
at the open circuit voltage (Voe). At the 'knee' of a normal I-V
curve is the maximum power point (Imp, Vmp), the point at
which the array generates maximum electrical power. In an
operating PV system, one of the jobs of the inverter is to
constantly adjust the load, seeking out the particular point on
the I-V curve at which the array as a whole yields the greatest
DC power.

Imp

Pmax

---

;------

Voltage (V)

In this paper the authors tried to overcome this problem


using Automatic Voltage Regulator & Microcontroller. This
method is a new and low cost method using automatic load
regulator to estimate both voltage and current of the solar cell
under different temperatures and irradiances.
IV.

ON Spy MODULE CHARACTERIZATION

./

Vmp

Voe

Fig. 2. The I-V and P-V curves ofa photovoltaic device.

Under identical conditions, two healthy PV modules of a


given model number should have similar fill factors. The
actual magnitude of the fill factor depends strongly on module
technology and design. For example, amorphous silicon
modules generally have lower fill factors (softer knees) than
crystalline silicon modules. Any impairment that reduces the
fill factor also reduces the output power by reducing Imp or
V mp or both. The I-V curve itself helps us to identifY the
nature of these impairments. The effects of series losses &
shunt losses and mismatch losses on the I-V curve are
represented in Figure 3. There is another effect of uniform
soiling, which simply reduces the height of the I-V curve by

978-1-4799-3340-2/14/$31.00 2014 IEEE

AUTOMATIC VOLTAGE REGULATOR (MrCROCONTROLLER)

In the photovoltaic field, manufacturers provide ratings for


PV modules for conditions referred to as standard test
conditions (STC). To carry out photovoltaic engineering well, a
suitable characterization of PV module electrical behavior (1- V
curves) is necessary. There are many methods like- Analog
circuit method, Digital circuit method, Implementation of Lab
view software to find out I-V curves [6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12]. But
these processes are not efficient enough, that's why authors
tried to implement a new method of characterization and
performance estimation of various solar photovoltaic modules
using ATMEGA Microcontroller.
The AtmelAVR core combines a rich instruction set
with 32 general purpose working registers. All the 32 registers
are directly connected to the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU),
allowing two independent registers to be accessed in one
single instruction executed in one clock cycle. The resulting
architecture is more code efficient while achieving
throughputs up to ten times faster than conventional CISC
microcontrollers. The ATmega8 provides the following
features: 8 Kbytes of In-System Programmable Flash with
Read-While-Write capabilities, 512 bytes of EEPROM, 1
Kbyte of SRAM, 23 general purpose I/O lines, 32 general
purpose working registers, three flexible Timer/Counters with
compare modes, internal and external interrupts, a serial
programmable USART, a byte oriented Two wire Serial
Interface, a 6-channel ADC (eight channels in TQFP and
QFN/MLF packages) with IO-bit accuracy, a programmable
Watchdog Timer with Internal Oscillator, an SPI serial port,
and five software selectable power saving modes. The Idle
mode stops the CPU while allowing the SRAM;
Timer/Counters, SPI port, and interrupt system to continue
functioning. The Power down mode saves the register contents

_____

Voltage

Voc

Fig. 3. Several categories oflosses that can reduce PV array output. The I-V
curve provides important troubleshooting clues.

ICONCE 2014
January 16 - 17, 2014, Kalyani,

WE,

India

IEEE ICONCE Print ISBN: 978-1-4799-3339-6

Proceedings of 2014 1st International Conference on Non Conventional Energy (ICONCE 2014)

but freezes the Oscillator, disabling all other chip functions


until the next Interrupt or Hardware Reset. In Power-save
mode, the asynchronous timer continues to run, allowing the
user to maintain a timer base while the rest of the device is
sleeping. The ADC Noise Reduction mode stops the CPU and
all I/O modules except asynchronous timer and ADC, to
minimize switching noise during ADC conversions. In
Standby mode, the crystal/resonator Oscillator is running
while the rest of the device is sleeping. This allows very fast
start-up combined with low-power consumption. The pin
diagram of proposed microcontroller is given below.
(RESET) PCS

(INTO) PD2
(INTl) P03
(XCKlTO) PD4
VCC

PC5 (ADCSlSCL)

DDCCOODD
(\

PC4 (ADC4ISDA)

(RXO) POO

(TXO) POl

. f .

PC3(ADC3)
PC2(ADC2)

5
6

PCl (ADC1)
PCo(ADCO)
GND

GNO
(XTAllITOSC1) PBS

8
9

(XTAl2ITOSC2) PB7

10

(11) PD5
lAINO) P06

19

AREF
AVCC

PB5(SCK)

18
17

PB4 (MISO)
PBS (MOSV0C2)

15

PB1 (OC1A)

16

Fig. 6. Block Diagram ofATMEGA microcontroller with Solar


Module.

PB2(lB)

B. Experimental Results

The experimental results I-V Characteristics of both of


these components is observed in the graph.

Fig. 4. Pin diagram ofATMEGA Microcontroller.

A. Experimental Methodologies

l'

i.

.j
I

"

Fig. 5. Experimental set-up.

Fig.7. the I-V curves ofa photovoltaic Module using ATMEGA


microcontroller at radiation of430 W/m'

In this paper the authors have tried to improve the I-V


characteristics. The block diagram of the electronic circuit
developed to trace the 1- V characteristics electronic
components is shown in figure below. Voltage Reading for
DUT (device under test) is carried out by connecting the
supply to the ADC channel 0 input of the microcontroller.
Microcontroller converts this analog value in digital format
i.e. 0-1023 for 10 bit operation. Again the readings are
converted to the voltage by multiplying with the factor of
(511024) for 5 volts of operating range. These conversions are
directly carried out using floating point library found in C
compiler. Results are buffered and shown to the display in
volts level. A predefined voltage sweep is programmed like
for example, a voltage increasing from 0 to 10 V in steps of
1v. For measurement of current a series shunt resistor is
connected to the device and the voltage drop is measured
which is equivalent to the current drawn by OHM' s law
(I=v/r). But since the voltage drop is quite small to be
measured by the ADC of the circuit it is then amplified by the
non inverting amplifier constructed with the LM358 FET
based OPAMP IC with gain of 3X (1+RFIRI), where RF is
20 k and Rl is 10k respectively[lO, 11].

978-1-4799-3340-2/14/$31.00 2014 IEEE

J-

After using the ATMEGA microcontroller the performance


of the solar cell from I-V Characteristics , we found that noise
caused the I-V curves to zigzag slightly near the VDC and to
zigzag widely near the 'knee' of the curve is reduced largely
and now it is nearly equal to the ideal characteristics of I-V
curve of solar module. And also from author's desired mode,
the starting point and ending point of the characteristics are
found out successfully. The authors have taken data on a 3Wp
poly crystalline solar module at 420 W/m2 solar radiation
intensity. For this experiment 1-255 ohm resistor (shift and
clock type register) at one ohm step variation with increasing
order is used for automatic control purpose.
V.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

A microcontroller based electronic circuit has been


presented in this paper for analyzing the electronic component
by tracing their I-V characteristics. Op-Amp is used in non
inverting mode for current to voltage conversion. A
programmable voltage supply is deduced using the PWM
(Pulse Width Modulation) over the microcontroller.

ICONCE 2014
January 16 - 17, 2014, Kalyani,

WE,

India

IEEE ICONCE Print ISBN: 978-1-4799-3339-6

Proceedings of 2014 1st International Conference on Non Conventional Energy (ICONCE 2014)

Voltage

Experimental results obtained with a known resistance, diode,


transistor, and wet soil fabricated electronic components
demonstrates the operational suitability of the electronic
circuit developed for the present work. Also the authors aim
that this model is not implementing only for 3watt peak
different type modules but also want to implement for
Characterization of different rating module using ammeter
shunt and voltmeter multiplier method in future.

[7]

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ICONCE 2014
January 16 - 17, 2014, Kalyani,

WE,

India