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FPGA Implementation of MPPT Using Variable

Step-Size P&O Algorithm for PV Applications
Noppadol Khaehintung1 Theerayod Wiangtong2 Phaophak Sirisuk3

'Department of Control and Instrumentation Engineering

2Department of Electronics Engineering
3 Department of Computer Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Mahanakorn University of Technology
51 Cheum-Sampan Rd., Nongchok, Bangkok, Thailand, 10530
Email:, and
Abstract- This paper describes FPGA implementation of a Recently, the increasing performance and cost reduction of
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for Photovoltaic (PV) digital circuits have made possible their applications for
applications. By slightly modifying the original algorithm, an power converter control [6]. Comparison with other digital
improved variable step-size P&O algorithm is realized and signal processors, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)
efficiently implemented using a hard-ware description language
(VHDL). Subsequently, the new MPPT algorithm integrated based systems could provide a number of run-time advantages
with a solar-powered battery charging system is implemented on over the sequential machines such as a microcontroller.
the XC2C384 FPGA without external sensor unit requirement. Moreover, with concurrent operation, it is executed
Experimental results with a commercial PV array show that the continuously and simultaneously which faster than DSP. Thus
proposed algorithm outperforms the conventional controller in the FPGA has been applied for high speed switching circuit to
terms of tracking speed and mitigation of fluctuation output reduce equipment-sizing [7].
power in steady state operation. The overall system efficiency is In this paper, we propose an implementation of adaptive
well above 96%. MPPT on FPGA. The adjustable algorithm is based on the
improved P&O method. An XC2C384 FPGA [8] is employed
I. INTRODUCTION for the algorithm processing, and it is integrated to a DC/DC
At present, photovoltaic (PV) has received much interest as boost converter to form SPBC. There is no external sensory
a secondary energy source. This is because the problem of unit required to be added into the system. Despite of its cost-
fossil energy depletion becomes more severe. The tern PV effectiveness and high speed processing, we shall demonstrate
refers to the phenomenon involving the conversion of sunlight that the system perfornance is outstanding.
into electrical energy via a solar cell [1]. Performance of a The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. A
PV-based system strongly depends upon the capability to typical solar power system and a conventional MPPT P&O
deternine an optimal operating point of the PV array at which technique are reviewed in Section II. The system
the maximum power can be drawn for any given load. Under configuration of the proposed SPBC and adaptive MPPT
certain temperature and light intensity, there is only single method are addressed in Section III. In Section IV, the
maximum-power point (MPP) in a normal cell. Therefore, development of adaptive MPPT on FPGA for SPBC (FPGA-
maximum power point tracking (MPPT) of the PV cell is SPBC) is discussed. The experimental results are shown in
essential as far as the system efficiency is concerned. this section. Finally, conclusions are drawn in Section V.
During the last decades, several of MPPT techniques have
been proposed. Many of them were implemented on digital
processor, especially, with a solar-powered battery charging II. THE MPPT FOR A PV ARRAY
(SPBC) application. They range from conventional methods,
such as the Perturbation and Observation Method (P&O) [2] A. Characteristic of a P V array
implemented on Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and the RISC Typically, a PV array comprises of a number of solar cells
microcontroller with Hill-Climbing Method [3], to much more connected in either series or parallel. Its mathematical model
sophisticated artificial intelligent methods built in RISC may be given as [5]
microcontroller, such as Fuzzy Logic Control (FLC) [4],
neural network (ANN) [5]. Comparatively, conventional P = nPIph1V- npIo !expKKo V(+ ITRsT
methods give poorer performances, but they are easier to -1)V
implement. Artificial Intelligent methods, on the other hand,
perforn better, but their structures are generally more -(V/n, + ITRT)V/RhT I (1)
complicated and require relatively high performance where P denotes the output power (W), V denotes the output
processor. Most importantly, they generally lack the
adaptability to deal with time varying environments. voltage of the PV array (V), Iph denotes the current of the PV

0-7803-9740-X/06/$20.00 e2006 IEEE W3D-5 ISCIT 2006

array that is proportional to light intensity (A), IT denotes the
output current proportional to temperature (A), I, denotes the
array's reverse saturation current (A), RST and RshT are defined a)

as the equivalent series and parallel resistance (Q) o


respectively, n, is the number of series string in the PV array, u4

n'p is the number of parallel string in the PV array and K0 is a 04
Generally, the characteristic of a PV array can be com- bo
prehensively described by its operating curve known as I-V ~11
O2 Ev
curve. This specific curve is usually supplied by the
manufacturers. It shows the relationship between output 2 4 6 10 12
voltage and current of the PV array as depicted in Fig. 1. It D=1 The solar array generator voltage (V) D=O
can be observed that, under a certain light intensity and F Duty ratio (D)
temperature, there is a unique point on the I-V curve at which Fig. 1. I-V and Power curve under light intensity and temperature.
the maximum power can be generated from the PV array.
Thus, a mechanism is required to track this specific point, so
that the optimal operation of the overall system can be Table I
achieved. Table 1 shows the specification of a commercial PV array specification (25C, IOOmW/cm2)
PV array used in this research work. Parameters Definitions
Maximum power, Pmax lO.OW
Voltage at Maximum power point, V,, lO.OV
B. Variable step-size P&O algorithm Current at Maximum power point, I,, l.OA
As the name suggests, the P&O algorithm operates by Table II
periodically perturbing the control variable and comparing the MPPT Using Modified P&O Method
instantaneous PV output power after perturbation with that if((P(k) - P(k- 1))>O)
before. In an original MPPT controller using P&O method the if((V(k) - V(k-1))>O
adjustment of the operating point is achieved by changing the D=D-AD;
reference voltage of the controller [2]. However, the else D=D+AD;
adjustment can be made through the duty ratio D. The end
algorithm is summarized in Table II. else
Note that V(k) and P(k) are output voltage and the power of if((V(k) - V(k-1))>O
PV which is calculated from V(k)xI(k) at time k, respectively. D=D+AD;
Besides, D and AD respectively denote duty ratio and change else D=D-AD;
of duty ratio. To achieve faster MPPT response and more end
accurate MPP under dynamic environment, variable
perturbation step-size, i.e. AD can be employed. In fact, AD
can be selected as function of PV power as: operated at 25MHz clock speed. The boost converter circuit
used in the battery charging mechanism comprises of two
AD (k) = ao .8(P(k) - P(k - 1)) , (2) capacitors (Cl = 100,uF, C2=lOO,F), and two Schottky diodes
where a is the constant value to control the movement toward D1 and D2. A power MOSFET BUZ 1I operating at 97.65kHz
the MPP and the accuracy of convergence for MPPT, 4 is the is used as a switching device S, so, one small inductor
sign of step dependent on perturbation direction. (L=l5OH) can be satisfied for this research work. A
commercial-grade battery bank with rated at 12V, 5Ahr is
used for the power storage.
III. THE PROPOSED FPGA-SBC SYSTEM In Fig. 2, the PV input voltage and current are sensed and
input to A/D converter. The PWM signal with the calculated
A. The proposed circuit configuration and generated the duty ratio D sent to the switch S through a
In our design, the controller performs two main functions. gate driver circuit. Note that VHDL implementation of the
First, it determines duty ratio D for the operation of switch S proposed MPPT is depicted in Fig. 3.
in such a way that the operating point of the PV array can be
controlled toward the maximum power point. The controller IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
also has to consistently detect the battery voltage to avoid For performance evaluation, the adaptive MPPT software
battery overcharging. When the battery is fully charged, the was developed using VHDL language for XC2C384 FPGA[8].
controller will switch off the switch S. Using the PV array whose characteristics described above,
The configuration of FPGA for SPBC used in this research tracking performance of MPPT obtained from the proposed
is shown in Fig. 2, a key of this proposed system is an adap- MPPT and the conventional P&O algorithm [2] was examined.
tive MPPT algorithm implemented on XC2C384 FPGA [8] It should be noted that a sampling time for both algorithms
Fig. 2.

The proposed ANN-SPBC system.


Archiecture for the

proposed MPPT

Fig. 3.

D(k) >

The VHDL for the proposed MPPT

was selected to be Ims. Table III depicts the FPGA resources

summary for our proposed controller.
_PWM out


*.o_,S1}se5..rs_1n.|;LITSsr. ^ne5r







Table III
FPGA Resources summary


W ;.. 14.



)1luums Chl

:: ::

Function Block
Inputs Used

*--i- 4-- i--!---, -!- 4---!--4 --,--H.-- i--,---> -!- 4---!---, --> -4-- i--!---,*-!- -> -!--4---,--4 --i--4-- i--,---i--!- -> -!---,---!--4 --i--4-- --!--->--!- #








In the experiment, the light source was turned on at t = Os
under light intensity of 85mW/cm2 and temperature of 400C.
The maximum power point at this environment is 8.0W. Fig.
4 (a) and (b) show the power tracking results obtained from I=400mA/
the P&O method with the fixed change in duty ratio, AD, of DIV
2/256 and 5/256, respectively. It can be seen that the settling
Math 20
time (t5) when AD = 2/256 is 200ms whereas it takes only (b)

lOOms when AD = 5/256. The larger AD, however, gives Fig. 4. Tracked power from P&O method under a light intensity of
larger fluctuations in output power as show in Fig. 4 (b). 85mW/cm2 and temperature of 40C (a) fixed AD at 2/256 and (b) fixed
Fig. 5 shows the results obtained from the proposed AD at 5/256
variable step-size P&O algorithm. We can obviously see that
the settling time is substantially reduced, only 85ms, and the
power fluctuations are very small throughout the course.
These system performances have been tested under more
practical scenarios. The light intensity is set to be varying
with the values of 85, 45 and 75mW/cm2 at 0 to 2s, 2 to 4s,
and 4s onward, respectively. This environment results in three
maximum power points of about 8.0, 4.0 and 6.4W,
respectively. The results obtained from fixed AD = 2/256,
5/256 and our proposed system are compared as depicted in
Fig. 6 (a), (b) and (c), receptively. Again, the maximum
power point can be tracked relatively fast and with small
fluctuations, even under such dynamic environment.
The DC-link current flowing through the battery at steady
state is shown in Fig. 7 in order to verify the efficiency of the
Math 2
overall system. The steady state power received by the battery Fig. 5.

Tracked power from the proposed MPPT under a light intensity of

has been measured. It is observed that the battery voltage, 85mW/cm2 and temperature of 40C


1-41 I

,. 1. I. 1.2;3 .v, Pi &-.' 200MV .'.
ME ..
M~ I3I -
Cnl1 I
xr I
3. I 11

F ig. 7. Battery current and controlled switch signal at 8.0W power from
(a) PV array

maximum power point tracking fur photovoltaic systems has

been presented. The experimental results obviously show that
the proposed algorithm can give significantly faster tracking

speed than the conventional P&O method. Furthermore, the

power fluctuation in steady state
substantially condition is

mitigated. The proposed algorithm

easily implemented can be
on a XC2C3 84 FPGA-based system to form a high
performance with small-sizing component solar-powered
battery charging system. Without any external-measuring
unit, the maximum power point of the PV cell can be

efficiently tracked with fast and smooth reaction to the

environment changing, The efficiency of the whole system is
well above 9600.


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[2] H. Chihchiang and S. Chihming, "Study of Maximum
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Fig. 6. Tracked power under dynamic environment (a) fixed AD at and W. Solar-powered Battery Charger with
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2/256 (b) fixed AD at 5/256 and (c) the proposed MPPT Neural Network Maximum Power Point Tracking Implemented
on a Low-Cost PIG-microcontroller," Proc. IEEE FEDS' 2005,

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and implementation of a digital PWM controller for a
battery becomes 7.7W. This means the overall efficiency of
high-frequency switching dc-dc power converter," Proc.
the proposed system is more than 960o given that the output
IEEE Ind Electron. Soc. Conf vol. 2, pp. 893-898, 200 1. ,

power PV array is 8.0W. [7] A. de Castro, P. Zumel, 0. Garcia, T. Riesgo and J.

Uceda, "Concurrent and simple digital controller of an
V. CONCLUSIONS AC/DC converter with power factor correction based on

an FPGA," IEEE Trans. Power Electronics, vol. 18, no.

In this paper, the development of an adaptive for a variable pp. 334-343, Jan. 2003.
perturbation step size on field programmable gate array for [8]