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Review On Various Multilevel Inverter Topologies

For Renewable Energy Sources
Article March 2015




3 authors, including:
Venkatesh kumar M
Saveetha University

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International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.4 (2015) PP. 3762-3765
Research India Publications;

Review On Various Multilevel Inverter Topologies For Renewable Energy

R.Rajkumar1, K.Ramanathan2, M.Venkatesh Kumar3
UG Students Department of EEE, Saveetha University
Asst. Professor (SG) - Department of EnEE, Saveetha University

Abstract - This paper deals with various Multilevel Inverter

topologies used in Renewable Energy Sources. The four
different commonly used Multilevel Inverter topologies are
Neutral Point Clamped, Flying Capacitor, Cascaded Inverter
and Hybrid Inverters. Each topology has their own features
with corresponding advantages and disadvantages when used
in a Renewable Energy Power system. The Review is made in
the aspects of Construction Complexity, Total Harmonic
Distortion, Controlling methodologies and Components

to achieve N levels 2(N-1) switches, (N-1)(N-2) Diodes for

Clamping and (N-1) capacitors for DC link is required. The
structure of a three phase six level Diode clamped Multilevel
Inverter is shown in figure 1. The source Vdcis split into
different voltage levels by using capacitor C1-C5 connecting
them in series. The semiconductor switches S1-S5 and S 1S 5 should allow the entire DC voltage from capacitors when
switched on using PWM pulse respectively, but the diode D1D4 should block different voltage levels such that D1 should
block 4 levels decreasing down so that D4 should block 1
level so the step waveform is achieved in the output.

Keywords: Multilevel Inverter, Cascaded Inverters, Hybrid

Inverter, Flying Capacitor

Energy crisis leading to energy demand across the globe force
us to switch to other sources of energy. Renewable Energy
sources are preferred more due to their less carbon emission
playing major role in reducing global warming. Efficiency of
Renewable energy sources is comparatively less than the
conventional fossil fuels, so improvements are made on either
side for the purpose of power quality improvement and
increase the usage of Renewable Energy sources. In the source
side MPPT tracking is implied whereas in the converter side
increasing the output levels of Multilevel Inverter and
reduction of Total Harmonic distortion is done to increase the
performance of Renewable Energy Sources.

Multilevel Inverter Topologies

Due to reduced disturbances and operational at lower
switching frequency makes the Multilevel Inverter more
suitable for Renewable Energy sources. Multilevel Inverters
provide smoother output waveforms when the levels are
increased simultaneously the Total Harmonic distortion is also
reduced [2],[14]. The number of levels is inversely
proportional to Total Harmonic Distortion such that at infinity
levels the THD becomes zero. Increasing the levels increase
component requirements and control complexity, so selection
of appropriate topology is necessary to overcome the above
disadvantages [4]. The commonly used three Multilevel
Inverter topologies are Diode Clamped Multilevel
Inverter(DCMLI), Flying Capacitor Multilevel Inverter
(FCMLI), and Cascaded Multilevel Inverter (CMLI).
A. Diode Clamped Multilevel Inverter
Diode Clamped or Neutral point Clamped Multilevel Inverters
has diode which clamps the source DC voltage to achieve
steps in the output waveform [6]. In a diode clamped Inverter

Figure 1. Six level Three Phase diode clamped inverter

The number of sources required is low as the
capacitors can share a single source.
At higher output levels there are filters required
because the THD is reduced when the levels are increased.
During fundamental frequency switching the
efficiency is high.
Pre-charging of the capacitors in group is possible.
Difficult to monitor and control overcharging of DC
levels in the inverter thus affecting the Real power flow [7]
To achieve higher number of levels higher number
i.e., (N-1)(N-2) clamping diodes is required
B. Flying Capacitor Multilevel Inverter
Flying capacitor Multilevel Inverter also known as Capacitor
Clamped Multilevel Inverter resembles similar structure of
diode clamped inverter in which the capacitors replace the
diodes [3]. Here the voltage levels are determined by the
charging and discharging of the flying capacitors connected to
the neutral point [11],[12]. Switching ON semiconductor

International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.4 (2015)
Research India Publications;
switches S1 and S2 charges the flying capacitor C3 link when
the switches are turned OFF the capacitor starts discharging.
The varying discharging time of each clamping capacitors
creates a Multilevel in the output voltage. For obtaining N
levels ((N-1)(N-2))/2clamping capacitors are required. Similar
to diode clamped (N-1) capacitors of same rating are required.

Figure 2. Five level Single Phase flying capacitor inverter

Controlling of real and reactive power flow is
Does not require any clamping diodes
No transformer is required for achieving the required
number of voltage levels [5]
Balancing capacitor share single DC source
Tracking of voltage levels in capacitors is more
complex than diodes
Determining of precharging time of all capacitors is
C. Cascaded Multilevel Inverter
A Cascaded Multilevel Inverter or H-Bridge Inverter is the
simplest topology of Multilevel Inverter. For N levels (N-1)/2
sources are required. Each source is connected by an H-bridge
consisting of four semiconductor switches [9]. The H-Bridges
are connected in series or cascaded together so that the output
is taken from the top leg of the first bridge and bottom leg of
the last bridge. The switching cycle of each bridge is such a
way that 1st Bridge is ONso Vdcfrom the source 1 produces a
level again when 2nd bridge is ON the bridges 1 and 2 are
cascaded so sum of the two sources gives another level in the
output is obtained. Finally when N bridges is ON the sum of
the all the sources gives the maximum output voltage with N

Figure 3. Single Cascade H-Bridge Inverter structure for N

Does not require any clamping diodes and clamping
capacitors so the number of components required for N levels
is very less compared to other topologies [10]
Regulation of the DC bus simple
Simple in construction and easier
to control
switching cycle of the semiconductor devices
More number of DC sources is required to achieve
higher levels
All Bridges must be working in order to achieve
D. Mixed or Hybrid Multilevel Inverter
Hybrid Multilevel Inverter is the construction of a new
Multilevel Inverter by combining any two or all the above
topologies [1]. The hybrid inverters are constructed to
overcome the disadvantages of each topology in their
respective application. A simple Hybrid Cascaded Inverter is
shown in Figure 4, in which a H-Bridge Inverter is cascaded
with a Flying capacitor inverter to achieve 5 level output. In
this topology the number of semiconductor switches required
for 5 level conventional Cascaded inverter is reduced thereby
reducing components requirement.
Simple in construction with high reliability
Improved power quality and efficiency [8]
Power losses are decreased
Limited to specific applications
Complexity in control

Figure 4. Hybrid Cascaded Inverter


International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, ISSN 0973-4562 Vol. 10 No.4 (2015)
Research India Publications;

Comparisonof The Mli Topologies

A comparison of the different components required is shown
in Table I, from the table it is clearly seen that the number of
components required is comparatively low in the Cascaded Hbridge Inverter. But the sources required is high in this
topology but the other two topologies share single DC bus
making the number sources required very low[15].
Considering the control the controlling of Diode clamped and
Cascaded Inverters are easier than Flying Capacitor Inverter,
but construction wise selection of clamping diode makes it a
complex topology by construction wise[13]. Similarly
determining precharging and discharging time of the capacitor
in Flying Capacitor Inverter is difficult. By the comparison the
Cascaded H-Bridge Inverter topology is best among all other
inverter topologies for any application.
Table I Components for each topology
Main switching




Main diodes




Clamping diodes







In the application of Renewable energy sources Cascaded Hbridge Inverters are the most suitable one. In photovoltaic
power systems or Hybrid power systems having multiple
sources by using a cascaded H-bridge Inverter all the sources
are connected to single Inverter since this topology require
different DC sources for achieving Multilevel output. Since
the component required is less so losses are reduced and cost
is also reduced thereby the efficiency is increased. Increasing
the levels reduces Total Harmonic distortion so at higher
levels the THD is reduced and the power quality is improved.

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