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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com <a href=Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 www.elsevier.com/locate/solener A photovoltaic panel emulator using a buck-boost DC/DC converter and a low cost micro-controller Dylan D.C. Lu , Quang Ngoc Nguyen School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Available online 7 March 2012 Received 5 September 2011; received in revised form 8 February 2012; accepted 9 February 2012 Available online 7 March 2012 Communicated by: Associate Editor Nicola Romeo Abstract In order to facilitate the design and testing of photovoltaic (PV) power systems, a PV emulator which models the electrical charac- teristic of a PV panel or array is needed. Among different approaches to modeling PV characteristic, namely the I – V curve, curve-fitting is a popular approach. Even though a single high-order polynomial equation may accurately represent the I – V curve, the process of der- ivation and implementation is rather complex. This paper hence proposes the use of piecewise linear approach which is easier to derive and implement in a low-cost micro-controller. A two-switch buck-boost DC/DC converter is selected as the PV emulator and is analyzed. Experimental results on a hardware prototype of the proposed PV emulator are reported to show the effectiveness of the approach. Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: DC/DC converter; Photovoltaic; Micro-controller; Emulator 1. Introduction The demand of photovoltaic (PV) power system installa- tion has been increased over the past decade due to techno- logical improvement, better environmental awareness, lowered system costs, governmental initiatives, rising electricity bills, etc. While these installed PV systems and products are operating properly, there are still ongoing issues to be investigated and solved. For example, reliability of PV power systems ( Petrone et al., 2008 ), PV power gener- ation analysis ( Ishaque et al., 2011; Paraskevadaki and Papathanassiou, 2011 ) and electricity network performance ( van der Borg and Jansen, 2003 ) due to partial shading, development of power electronics interfaces ( Marsh, 2011, 2010 ), etc. All these research and development activities require a stable, repeatable and variable PV source for Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 2 9351 3496; fax: +61 2 9351 3847. E-mail address: dylan.lu@sydney.edu.au (D.D.C. Lu). design and testing. Hence there is a need of a PV generator emulator. The main task for a PV generator emulator is to repro- duce the I – V curve of a practical PV panel. There are differ- ent approaches to performing this task. In Nagayoshi (2004) , a p–n photodiode is used and a DC power amplifier increases the power level to match with that of a PV panel. However, this approach requires a light source and associ- ated circuit to reproduce the I – V curves of a PV panel. In fact, a power electronics converter can mimic the I – V curve accurately with only a DC input voltage source ( Mukerjee and Dasgupta, 2007 ). In Khouzam and Hoffman (1996) , a AC/DC buck converter is used as the PV emulator to emu- late a PV cell circuit model. However this approach requires the knowledge of the values of the parameters which are usually difficult to obtain. In fact, to model a PV panel, one may use the data available from the datasheet of the PV panel manufacturer and derive an analytical model to represent the I – V curves ( Ortiz-Rivera and Peng, 2005 ). 0038-092X/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2012.02.008 " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com <a href=Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 www.elsevier.com/locate/solener A photovoltaic panel emulator using a buck-boost DC/DC converter and a low cost micro-controller Dylan D.C. Lu , Quang Ngoc Nguyen School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Available online 7 March 2012 Received 5 September 2011; received in revised form 8 February 2012; accepted 9 February 2012 Available online 7 March 2012 Communicated by: Associate Editor Nicola Romeo Abstract In order to facilitate the design and testing of photovoltaic (PV) power systems, a PV emulator which models the electrical charac- teristic of a PV panel or array is needed. Among different approaches to modeling PV characteristic, namely the I – V curve, curve-fitting is a popular approach. Even though a single high-order polynomial equation may accurately represent the I – V curve, the process of der- ivation and implementation is rather complex. This paper hence proposes the use of piecewise linear approach which is easier to derive and implement in a low-cost micro-controller. A two-switch buck-boost DC/DC converter is selected as the PV emulator and is analyzed. Experimental results on a hardware prototype of the proposed PV emulator are reported to show the effectiveness of the approach. Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: DC/DC converter; Photovoltaic; Micro-controller; Emulator 1. Introduction The demand of photovoltaic (PV) power system installa- tion has been increased over the past decade due to techno- logical improvement, better environmental awareness, lowered system costs, governmental initiatives, rising electricity bills, etc. While these installed PV systems and products are operating properly, there are still ongoing issues to be investigated and solved. For example, reliability of PV power systems ( Petrone et al., 2008 ), PV power gener- ation analysis ( Ishaque et al., 2011; Paraskevadaki and Papathanassiou, 2011 ) and electricity network performance ( van der Borg and Jansen, 2003 ) due to partial shading, development of power electronics interfaces ( Marsh, 2011, 2010 ), etc. All these research and development activities require a stable, repeatable and variable PV source for Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 2 9351 3496; fax: +61 2 9351 3847. E-mail address: dylan.lu@sydney.edu.au (D.D.C. Lu). design and testing. Hence there is a need of a PV generator emulator. The main task for a PV generator emulator is to repro- duce the I – V curve of a practical PV panel. There are differ- ent approaches to performing this task. In Nagayoshi (2004) , a p–n photodiode is used and a DC power amplifier increases the power level to match with that of a PV panel. However, this approach requires a light source and associ- ated circuit to reproduce the I – V curves of a PV panel. In fact, a power electronics converter can mimic the I – V curve accurately with only a DC input voltage source ( Mukerjee and Dasgupta, 2007 ). In Khouzam and Hoffman (1996) , a AC/DC buck converter is used as the PV emulator to emu- late a PV cell circuit model. However this approach requires the knowledge of the values of the parameters which are usually difficult to obtain. In fact, to model a PV panel, one may use the data available from the datasheet of the PV panel manufacturer and derive an analytical model to represent the I – V curves ( Ortiz-Rivera and Peng, 2005 ). 0038-092X/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2012.02.008 " id="pdf-obj-0-6" src="pdf-obj-0-6.jpg">
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com <a href=Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 www.elsevier.com/locate/solener A photovoltaic panel emulator using a buck-boost DC/DC converter and a low cost micro-controller Dylan D.C. Lu , Quang Ngoc Nguyen School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Available online 7 March 2012 Received 5 September 2011; received in revised form 8 February 2012; accepted 9 February 2012 Available online 7 March 2012 Communicated by: Associate Editor Nicola Romeo Abstract In order to facilitate the design and testing of photovoltaic (PV) power systems, a PV emulator which models the electrical charac- teristic of a PV panel or array is needed. Among different approaches to modeling PV characteristic, namely the I – V curve, curve-fitting is a popular approach. Even though a single high-order polynomial equation may accurately represent the I – V curve, the process of der- ivation and implementation is rather complex. This paper hence proposes the use of piecewise linear approach which is easier to derive and implement in a low-cost micro-controller. A two-switch buck-boost DC/DC converter is selected as the PV emulator and is analyzed. Experimental results on a hardware prototype of the proposed PV emulator are reported to show the effectiveness of the approach. Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: DC/DC converter; Photovoltaic; Micro-controller; Emulator 1. Introduction The demand of photovoltaic (PV) power system installa- tion has been increased over the past decade due to techno- logical improvement, better environmental awareness, lowered system costs, governmental initiatives, rising electricity bills, etc. While these installed PV systems and products are operating properly, there are still ongoing issues to be investigated and solved. For example, reliability of PV power systems ( Petrone et al., 2008 ), PV power gener- ation analysis ( Ishaque et al., 2011; Paraskevadaki and Papathanassiou, 2011 ) and electricity network performance ( van der Borg and Jansen, 2003 ) due to partial shading, development of power electronics interfaces ( Marsh, 2011, 2010 ), etc. All these research and development activities require a stable, repeatable and variable PV source for Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 2 9351 3496; fax: +61 2 9351 3847. E-mail address: dylan.lu@sydney.edu.au (D.D.C. Lu). design and testing. Hence there is a need of a PV generator emulator. The main task for a PV generator emulator is to repro- duce the I – V curve of a practical PV panel. There are differ- ent approaches to performing this task. In Nagayoshi (2004) , a p–n photodiode is used and a DC power amplifier increases the power level to match with that of a PV panel. However, this approach requires a light source and associ- ated circuit to reproduce the I – V curves of a PV panel. In fact, a power electronics converter can mimic the I – V curve accurately with only a DC input voltage source ( Mukerjee and Dasgupta, 2007 ). In Khouzam and Hoffman (1996) , a AC/DC buck converter is used as the PV emulator to emu- late a PV cell circuit model. However this approach requires the knowledge of the values of the parameters which are usually difficult to obtain. In fact, to model a PV panel, one may use the data available from the datasheet of the PV panel manufacturer and derive an analytical model to represent the I – V curves ( Ortiz-Rivera and Peng, 2005 ). 0038-092X/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2012.02.008 " id="pdf-obj-0-10" src="pdf-obj-0-10.jpg">

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A photovoltaic panel emulator using a buck-boost DC/DC converter and a low cost micro-controller

Dylan D.C. Lu , Quang Ngoc Nguyen

School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Available online 7 March 2012

Received 5 September 2011; received in revised form 8 February 2012; accepted 9 February 2012 Available online 7 March 2012

Communicated by: Associate Editor Nicola Romeo

Abstract

In order to facilitate the design and testing of photovoltaic (PV) power systems, a PV emulator which models the electrical charac- teristic of a PV panel or array is needed. Among different approaches to modeling PV characteristic, namely the IV curve, curve-fitting is a popular approach. Even though a single high-order polynomial equation may accurately represent the IV curve, the process of der- ivation and implementation is rather complex. This paper hence proposes the use of piecewise linear approach which is easier to derive and implement in a low-cost micro-controller. A two-switch buck-boost DC/DC converter is selected as the PV emulator and is analyzed. Experimental results on a hardware prototype of the proposed PV emulator are reported to show the effectiveness of the approach. Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: DC/DC converter; Photovoltaic; Micro-controller; Emulator

1. Introduction

The demand of photovoltaic (PV) power system installa- tion has been increased over the past decade due to techno- logical improvement, better environmental awareness, lowered system costs, governmental initiatives, rising electricity bills, etc. While these installed PV systems and products are operating properly, there are still ongoing issues to be investigated and solved. For example, reliability of PV power systems (Petrone et al., 2008), PV power gener- ation analysis (Ishaque et al., 2011; Paraskevadaki and Papathanassiou, 2011) and electricity network performance (van der Borg and Jansen, 2003) due to partial shading, development of power electronics interfaces (Marsh, 2011, 2010), etc. All these research and development activities require a stable, repeatable and variable PV source for

Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 2 9351 3496; fax: +61 2 9351 3847. E-mail address: dylan.lu@sydney.edu.au (D.D.C. Lu).

design and testing. Hence there is a need of a PV generator emulator. The main task for a PV generator emulator is to repro- duce the IV curve of a practical PV panel. There are differ- ent approaches to performing this task. In Nagayoshi (2004), a p–n photodiode is used and a DC power amplifier increases the power level to match with that of a PV panel. However, this approach requires a light source and associ- ated circuit to reproduce the IV curves of a PV panel. In fact, a power electronics converter can mimic the IV curve accurately with only a DC input voltage source (Mukerjee and Dasgupta, 2007). In Khouzam and Hoffman (1996), a AC/DC buck converter is used as the PV emulator to emu- late a PV cell circuit model. However this approach requires the knowledge of the values of the parameters which are usually difficult to obtain. In fact, to model a PV panel, one may use the data available from the datasheet of the PV panel manufacturer and derive an analytical model to represent the IV curves (Ortiz-Rivera and Peng, 2005).

0038-092X/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 1478 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

Look-up table and curve fitting are two popular approaches to implementing IV curves of a PV panel by the power electronics converters. Look-up table would require a large memory storage of the micro-controller as large amount of panel data is stored if many IV curves at different conditions and with high accuracy are imple- mented. Hence to implement look-up table in a low cost micro-controller which has limited memory space is usually difficult. Curve-fitting approach in general uses one or more polynomial equations to model an IV curve and needs a digital controller with fast computational speed to find the solution. While this method requires less mem- ory space, the non-linearity of the IV curve requires the equations to be of higher orders which may increase the computational time substantially. A powerful DSP control- ler is usually needed to produce very fast and accurate results (Zhang and Zhao, 2010). Also the derivation pro- cess of the polynomial equations for different conditions such as insolation and temperature is rather troublesome. In order to use curve-fitting efficiently on a low-cost micro-controller, this paper introduces a PV emulator using multiple simple linear equations to mimic an IV curve of the PV panel. This approach reduces computa- tional time while maintaining sufficient accuracy and can be implemented in a low-cost 8-bit micro-controller. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 describes the circuit and operation principle of the proposed PV emulator. Sec- tion 3 reports the experimental results of the emulator which models a BP Solar SX-10 PV panel. Section 4 dis- cusses the limitations of the emulator and followed by the conclusions in Section 5.

2. Description of the PV emulator

2.1. System overview

The PV emulator, as shown in Fig. 1, consists of a DC input source, V in , a DC/DC converter for shaping the output IV curves of the PV panel, a micro-controller for sensing the output voltage v pv and current i pv , calculation and sending duty cycle command, and a gate driver for

1478 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 Look-up table and curve fitting

Fig. 1. Block diagram of the PV emulator.

amplifying the incoming duty cycle command suitable for driving the power transistor (MOSFET in this case). The output load R L is modeled as a variable resistor to repre- sent an equivalent resistance of a maximum power point tracker (MPPT).

  • 2.2. Mathematical modeling of a PV panel

Apart from measuring an actual PV panel, one can also use an analytical model to represent the data in the data- sheet from the manufacturer to obtain the IV curves of a specific PV panel. In Ortiz-Rivera and Peng (2005), the authors have generated an analytical model for a PV panel which is adopted in this paper:

  • I ðV Þ ¼ a I max s i

1 exp

V

1

bða c þ 1 cÞðV max þ s V Þ b

ð1Þ

where a is the percentage of effective intensity of the light, b is the characteristic IV curve constant, c is the shading lin- ear factor, s i is the rate of change with the temperature for

the current (A/ C), s V is the rate of change with the temper- ature for the voltage (V/ C) and I max is the ideal maximum current (when V = 1 at STC). For this paper, a PV panel from BP Solar (Model: SX- 10) is modeled. Assuming no shading and using a = 1 and others values provided by the datasheet (BP Solar PC SX- 10 data sheet, 2003), a numerical expression of this PV panel can be found:

  • I ðV Þ ¼

0:65

1 e 1=b

1

V

1

b

b 21

ð2Þ

Using the maximum power point condition at 16.8 V and 0.59 A, the value of b can be calculated by (2) as 0.085. At 25 C, (2) can be further simplified to:

  • I ðV Þ ¼ 0:65½1 e ðV =1:785 11:7647Þ

Similarly at 75 C one can get:

  • I ðV Þ ¼ 0:6711½1 e ðV =1:445 11:7647Þ

ð3Þ

ð4Þ

Fig. 2 shows the MATLAB plot of the IV characteristic

curves of SX-10 PV panel Eqs. (3) and (4).

  • 2.3. Two-line and multiple-line fitting approaches

To generate N number of fitting lines, N + 1 points from

the curve need to be selected. To begin with, a two-line

approach as shown in Fig. 3 is discussed. The two ends points

from the curve are the open-circuit voltage (21 V, 0 A) and

short-circuit current (0 V, 0.65 A). The third point is selected

(16.8 V, 0.62 A) as the maximum power point (MPP) of the

curve where the two lines converge. Therefore the two equa-

tions which represent the two lines are expressed as

  • I ðV Þ ¼

0:65 0:004V

ð5Þ

  • I ðV Þ ¼ 2:94 0:14V

ð6Þ

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

1479

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1479 Fig. 2. I – V

Fig. 2. IV characteristics of SX-10 at 25 C and 75 C.

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1479 Fig. 2. I – V

Fig. 3. Two-line curve fitting approach.

To improve the accuracy of the curve-fitting method, five lines as shown in Fig. 4 are used. Similarly, with six points selected, the five equations which represent the five lines are given by

I ðV Þ ¼

2:94 9:2143e 4 V ½for V ¼ 014

ð7Þ

I ðV Þ ¼

0:8233 0:0133V ½for V ¼ 1416

ð8Þ

I ðV Þ ¼

1:2633 0:0408V ½for V ¼ 1618

ð9Þ

I ðV Þ ¼

2:1651 0:0909V ½for V ¼ 1819

ð10Þ

I ðV Þ ¼ 4:599 0:2190V ½for V ¼ 1921

ð11Þ

2.4. DC/DC converter

Among the basic converters, buck and buck-boost converters are able to be implemented as the DC/DC

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1479 Fig. 2. I – V

Fig. 4. Five-line curve fitting approach.

converter for the PV emulator. The design consideration is that the converter is able to sweep through the entire voltage range of the PV panel. For a buck converter, a DC input voltage which is higher than the panel is required as it is a step-down converter. The buck-boost converter is more flexible as it can perform both step-up and step-down functions. The boost converter which is a step-up con- verter, however, can only operate when the input voltage is lower than the output voltage hence it cannot reach down to 0 V and cannot be used in this case.

3. Experimental setup and results

3.1. Design considerations and hardware description

To verify the proposed PV emulator for the BP SX-10 model, a hardware prototype is built and tested. The sche- matic of the PV emulator circuit is shown in Fig. 5. The rea- son to select a two-switch buck-boost converter for this implementation is twofold. Firstly it can work with lower input voltage (12–15 V) that reduces the power loss when the input voltage is used to step down further for the micro-controller circuit (5 V). If a buck converter is used, the input voltage has to be higher than 21 V which is the open-circuit voltage of the PV panel. Secondly, the output voltage is non-inverting as compared to the single-switch buck-boost converter with inverting output. The advantage is that the output ground will be the same for the input ground and ground of other equipment which is connected to the output of the PV emulator, e.g. a MPPT switching converter. Another advantage is that the use of either split- ting power supply or opto-coupler and associated circuit for negative voltage feedback sensing, which added complexity and slowed down the response of the system, is eliminated. The two-switch buck-boost converter consists of two power MOSFETs (Q1 and Q2), two diodes (D1 and D2), an inductor (L1) and an output capacitor (C1), as shown

  • 1480 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

1480 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 Fig. 5. Schematic of the

Fig. 5. Schematic of the proposed PV emulator based on a buck-boost converter.

in Fig. 5. The two power transistors Q1 and Q2 share the same driving pulses from the Gate Driver block. When both transistors are closed, the inductor is charged by the input voltage. When the transistors are turned off, the inductor is discharged via two diodes (D1 and D2) to out- put. By controlling the duty cycle of the transistors as a result of the linear equations calculation as stated in Sec- tion 2.2, the IV curve of the PV panel is implemented. For the micro-controller, a 8-bit PICAXE AXE-08M chip is selected. It is a modified version of Microchip PIC12F68 model. It has three ADC inputs and a PWM output pin which is easily configured by a single-line com- mand. The chip runs at 4 MHz and therefore it can operate easily at 50 kHz switching frequency for the converter with sufficient accuracy and speed. The inductor (L1) is chosen to operate in continuous conduction mode (CCM) as it produces less conduction loss. A ±20% maximum current ripple in the inductor is selected. At 50 kHz switching frequency, the minimum inductance L min to meet such requirement is at 15 V input and 21 V output (open-circuit voltage)

L min ¼

V in D

15 0:58

f s Di

50000

¼

0:4 ¼ 435 lH

ð12Þ

where V in is the input voltage, D is the duty cycle of the power switches, f s is the switching frequency, and Di is the maximum current ripple. In order to provide at least 12 V and floating gate drive for the MOSFET, a high-side driver IR2117 is used. Since the PICAXE chip operates at 5 V but the IR2117 driver

requires at least 9.6 V input, a simple transistor inverter as a level lifting circuit is implemented. This small transis- tor (2N7000) requires only 2.5 V to drive. When a high pulse from PICAXE chip is generated, the transistor is turned on and pulled the output to ground. When a low pulse is generated, the transistor is turned off and output is risen up to Vcc (12–15 V in this design). The programming for PICAXE is done on a free pro- gramming editor provided by PICAXE. Once the program is written it can be downloaded to the PICAXE AXE-08M micro-controller chip via a USB cable (AXE027) or RS-232 cable (AXE028) connecting the computer and the chip (Download Socket in Fig. 5). This cable is not a normal USB or RS-232 connector as it contains some electronic parts and it is pre-programmed. The programming lan- guage for PICAXE is similar to the BASIC language. The program flow chart is shown in Fig. 6. The program starts with defining the symbols for voltage and current measurements and for counters. Then it outputs a small duty cycle to start the buck-boost converter. Once the con- verter operates, the program can take readings from the voltage and current (V_sense and I_sense in Fig. 5) to

determine the operating point for the PV panel the con- verter mimics. Note that we are using fractional open voltage MPPT algorithm so only a voltage reading is needed to operate the converter to the desired operating point. The current measurement is only used for overload- ing protection. The PICAXE-08M chip can contain maxi- mum of 8 linear equations so we have used 5 linear equations for 75 C and 3 linear equations for 25 C. The

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

1481

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1481 Fig. 6. Program flow chart

Fig. 6. Program flow chart for implementation of 5-line for 75 C and 3- line for 25 C of the BP SX-10 PV panel.

selection of what temperature to use is by providing a high or low signal to available ADC input of the PICAXE (Pin 4). Here we selected signal high for 75 C and low for 25 C. After the temperature is selected, the program will use the voltage reading to locate the nearest linear equation to find out the operating point. A new duty cycle is then determined and produced from the PWM pin of the PIC- AXE and the converter duty cycle is updated. After that the program goes back to the voltage and current checking process and repeats the procedure. The full program code for implementing the five-line approach is shown in Appen- dix A.

3.2. Results

Fig. 7 shows the output voltage ripple of the PV emula- tor is less than 450 mV at 50 kHz switching frequency. The Onand Offlabels in the figure indicate the turn-on instant and turn-off instant of the power transistors Q 1 and Q 2 for each switching period. The duration of Onperiod indicates the duty cycle of the transistors. And from the waveform it can be observed that the converter is oper- ating in continuous conduction mode (CCM) as the ripple has only two stages, confirming our design in Section 3.1 and Eq. (12). Note that the voltage spikes during the turn-on and turn-off instants and appeared beyond the hor- izontal cursors are due to the pick-up of electromagnetic

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1481 Fig. 6. Program flow chart

Fig. 7. Output voltage ripple of the PV emulator (Y-axis: 200 mV/div;

time scale: 10 ls/div).

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1481 Fig. 6. Program flow chart

Fig. 8. Comparison between experimental and theoretical results on two- line approach.

noise from the voltage probe. Minimizing the ground loop of the voltage probe will greatly reduce the pick-up. Fig. 8 shows the measured results on the prototype using the two- line approach. The results are very close to the two operat- ing lines. Fig. 9 shows further results on the five-line approach at both 25 C and 75 C. Due to the memory limitation of the micro-controller, only eight lines can be implemented in a single program. Therefore Fig. 9 shows 5 lines for 25 C and 3 lines 75 C. Nevertheless, the mea- sured results are closely matched with the theoretical designed curves. As shown in Fig. 10, the PV emulator reaches a maxi- mum efficiency of around 80% near maximum power point voltage for both temperature settings. The low efficiency occurs at lower voltages because the output power of the power converter is small and the switching losses of power transistors and diodes are dominant. When PV emulator

  • 1482 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

1482 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 Fig. 9. Comparison between experimental

Fig. 9. Comparison between experimental and theoretical results on five- line approach and different temperature settings.

open voltage with a factor, usually between 0.7 and 0.78. The converter will alter the duty cycle in order to adjust the panel voltage to be equal to this MPP value. This method is simple as no input current of the PV panel is needed. The limitation of this MPPT approach is that the MPP voltage is only an approximate value. Using the same MPPT code, different operating conditions are tested to confirm that the tracker can adapt to the change of the environment. Fig. 12 shows the capability of the tracker to reach the maximum power points at different tempera- tures and insolations. The tracker has been tested with the PV panel emulator. The tracker has successfully tracked the MPP voltages at 16.9 V for 25 C and 13.7 V for 75 C respectively which are very close to the theoretical values. The results demon- strated that the performance of the PV panel emulator reacts identically to the real PV panel which it models.

1482 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 Fig. 9. Comparison between experimental

Fig. 10. Measured efficiency of the PV emulator at different temperature settings.

voltage increases and is moving towards the maximum power point, the output power of the converter also increases. Since the rate of switching losses only increases slightly as compared to the rate of increase of output power, there is less switching losses proportionally to the overall input power and the efficiency improves as output power increases as a result. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of the PV emula- tor. A system is set up, as shown in Fig. 11, in which a buck converter as a maximum power point tracker is connected to the output of the PV emulator. The tracker is first tested using the real PV panel outdoor. Fractional open circuit voltage technique (Esram and Chapman, 2007; Ahmad, 2010) is used as the MPPT algorithm in this case. Frac- tional open circuit voltage technique measures the open cir- cuit voltage of the PV panel at the start-up process. And the MPP is approximated by multiplying the measured

4. Discussions

Using multiple straight lines to model an IV curve of the PV panel is fast and straight-forward. The low cost PICAXE-08 M chip has four basic mathematical functions:

addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and they are well suited for this implementation. To improve the accuracy of modeling further, however, exponential expres- sions can be used and a more powerful micro-controller needed to be used. Also, as mentioned in Section 3.2, with limited program memory (800 lines memory) of this micro- controller only eight lines can be implemented. But the PICAXE family has higher end micro-controller to imple- ment more number of lines, such as 40 2 with 3200 lines memory. The PICAXE-08 M chip has a pin dedicated to PWM generation. By using the PWMOUT function in the program, frequency and duty cycle are set using a single command line. The resolution of the duty cycle increases with decreasing switching frequency. For instance, at 50 kHz switching frequency, there are 80 steps. While at 40 kHz, the steps increase to 100. Larger steps of duty cycle enable the converter to operate with smaller fluctuation when duty cycle has to be altered to adjust the output con- tinuously due to change of input or output condition, pro- vided the inductance and output capacitance have increased to maintain the same ripple current and ripple voltage with decreasing switching frequency. The power losses of the PV emulator are mainly due to conduction loss and switching loss. Conduction loss can be reduced by using better devices with smaller internal resis- tance. This includes smaller turn-on resistance for power transistor and diode, and less core loss and less copper (winding) loss for the inductor. Switching loss can be reduced by improving the slew rate of turn-off and turn- on instances of the power transistor and of the power diodes. For instance, we can use Silicon-Carbide (SiC) instead of Silicon (Si) diodes. SiC diodes have negligible

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

1483

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1483 Fig. 11. System setup for

Fig. 11. System setup for proposed PV emulator and a maximum power point tracker.

D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484 1483 Fig. 11. System setup for

Fig. 12. Measured results on a maximum power point tracker using a buck converter.

reverse-recovery current which usually causes additional switching loss (Spiazzi et al., 2003).

demonstrated the effectiveness and usefulness of the PV emulator.

Appendix A. This appendix shows the original PICAXE program code for 5-line approach for implementing the IV curve of BP SX-10 PV panel at 25 C and 3-line appro- ach at 75 C.

symbol v = b1 ’define symbols symbol i = b2 symbol dc = b0 symbol t = b3 let dc = 75 ’set duty cycle for low start voltage main:

pause 100 gosub changeduty goto check check:

pause 100

readadc 1, v ’ read voltage into v = 1/5 voltage value readadc 4, i ’ read current into i = current value if v > 250 then goto overload ’voltage of pin 1 >= 5 V

if i > 51 then goto overload ’current

flow >= 1 A

 

let

t = i/5 ’i = i/5 because of voltage divider

5. Conclusions

let

v = v -t ’calculate load voltage = V-2i

This paper presents the design and implementation of a PV emulator based on a two-switch buck-boost DC/DC

if pin3 = 1 then ’pin 3 = 1 (75 C); pin 3 = 0 (25 C) if v < 123 then ’0 to 12 V let v = v/150

converter and a low cost 8-bit micro-controller. By using

let v = 71/2 –

v ’equation I = 0.67–0.0017 * V

multiple straight lines approach, the PV emulator can

elseif

v > = 123

and v < = 153 then ’12 to 15 V

mimic a PV panel with acceptable accuracy. The PV emu- lator has been tested using resistive loads as well as a max- imum power point tracker. Experimental results have

let v = v * 3/14 let v = 64 – v ’equation I = 1.238–0.049 * V

  • 1484 D.D.C. Lu, Q.N. Nguyen / Solar Energy 86 (2012) 1477–1484

elseif v > 153 and v < 182 then ’15

to 17 V

let

v = v * 5/

let v = 219 – v else

’equation I = 4.283–0.252 * V

let

dc = dc + 1 min 28

goto changeduty endif else if v < 143 then

’0 to 14 V

let v = v/200 let v = 35 – v ’equation I = 0.65–9 e-4 * V

elseif v > = 143 and v < = 163 then ’14 to 16 V let v = v/15 let v = 45 – v ’equation I = 0.8233–0.0133 * V elseif v > 163 and v < 184 then ’16 to 18 V

let

v = v/5

let v = 66 – v ’equation I = 1.2633–0.04 * V

elseif v > = 184

and

v < 194 then ’18 to 19 V

let

v = 5 * v

let

v = v/11

let v = 113 – v ’equation I = 2.1651–0.0909 * V

elseif v > = 194 and

v < 224 then ’19 to 21 V

let

v = 65 * v

let

v = v/61

let v = 238 – v ’equation I = 4.599–0.2190 * V

else

let

dc = dc + 1 min 28

 

goto changeduty endif endif if i < v then let dc = dc-1 min 28 goto changeduty elseif i > v then let dc = dc + 1 max 79 goto changeduty else goto check endif goto check

changeduty:

pwmout 2,19,dc goto check overload:

let dc = 75 gosub changeduty goto main

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