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A High-Efficiency Maximum Power Point Tracker for Photovoltaic Arrays in a Solar-Powered Race Vehicle

Matthew J. Powers Charles R. Sullivan* Student Member, IEEE University of California, Berkeley Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Berkeley, CA 94720 U. S. A. email:

Abstract- A maximum power point tracker for photovoltaic arrays is presented. Components are optimized for weight/power-loss tradeoff in a solar-powered vehicle, resulting in over 07% efflciency. The control circuit uses a robust autoscillation method. Measurement and multiplication of array voltage and current ia shown to be unnecessary, and the control is based only on output current measurement. Multiple local maxima arising from partial shading of the solar array are discussed.

to track the wrong local maximum. The power section is optimized for low power loss and light weight, using vehicle performance as a criterion for trading o f f these characteristics. Through careful design and consideration of all the major sources of power loss, greater than 97% efficiency is achieved.

The objective of the control section is to command some parameter of the DC-DC converter, such as duty cycle, in such a way as to operate the photovoltaic array at its maximum power point. Previously-used methods of achieving this goal include voltage-feedback methods and power-feedback methods. Advantageous features of several of the published power-feedback methods are combined in the present system.
A . Voltage-FeedbackMethods

To obtain maximum power output from an array of photovoltaic cells under changing insolation, temperature and load conditions, it is necessary t o use a circuit to optimize the electrical operating conditions of the array. This circuit, a maximum power point tracker (MPPT), consists of a power section and a control section. This paper reports on a design of a complete M P P T comprising a PWM boost converter for the power section, and a control section constructed with simple logic and analog electronics. The MPPT is designed and optimized for a solar-powered race vehicle. The vehicle has a 6 square meter solar array, divided into nine sections, each of which is connected to a separate MPPT. The outputs of the nine MPPTs are connected in parallel to the storage battery. The vehicles drive system draws power from this bns. The control section of the M P P T combines the advantages of several previously published designs. In particular, it avoids the need for measuring and multiplying array voltage and current, and has superior robustness in the presense of noise. Measurements of the array terminal quantities are avoided by using only an output current measurement. Conditions under which this is adequate have been determined. The theoretical and practical advantages and disadvantages of alternative control algorithms are discussed. Also discussed is the possible problem of having multiple local maxima in the power-voltage curve under conditions of partial shading of an array of many cells. Though unlikely in other applications, this can occur on solarpowered vehicles, and may cause this or other control designs
*The first author has been supported by an NSF Graduate Fellowship.

Perhaps the simplest control method is to keep the array near the maximum power point by regulating the array voltage and matching it to a fixed reference voltage. This method assumes that any variations in the insolation and temperature of the array are insignificant, and that the constant reference voltage is an adequate approximation of the true maximum power point. In the case that the most important variations in the system are not in the array, but in the load, this type of control can work well. For example if the output of the tracker is connected directly to a dc motor without batteries on the bus, the electrical load characteristics vary widely according to the speed of the motor and the mechanical load. With constant cell conditions, this type of control can deliver maximum power to the motor regardless of the mechanical situation. However, such a system cannot automatically track variations in the maximum power point of the array. One could augment this type of control method to vary the array reference voltage according to variations in array temperature and insolation. One way to get information related to array temperature and insolation is to measure array or cell open-circuit voltage. This can be done by using a small opencircuited reference cell, electrically separate from the rest of the array [l, 21. For a solar-powered race vehicle, a reference cell would be difficult to use, because of the requirement of

0-7803-1243-0/93$03.00 CP 1993 JEEE


leaving space for it on the solar array, and problems in having it be adequately representative of the entire array. In [3] these problems are overcome. T h e actual open-circuit array voltage is measured by momentarily interrupting the normal operation of the array and the MPPT. It is found that setting the reference voltage to a fixed fraction of the open-circuit voltage results in adequate tracking of the maximum power point over variations in insolation and temperature. In addition to the power requirements of the control section and the losses in the power section, this scheme may lose about 0.55% of the available power from the array. This loss comprises 0.05% from the time that the array is open circuited, plus 0.5%, our estimate of the power lost through not operating at the exact maximum power point.

B . Power-Feedback Methods
A controller that directly finds the actual maximum power point, instead of estimating it from measurements of other quantities has the advantage of being independent of any a prior: knowledge of the array characteristics. Thus it can be depended upon to work properly even with an array that has not been previously tested, or with an array whose characteristics have changed. Such a controller needs to have a measurement indicative of the array power, and an algorithm implemented in software or hardware to find a local maximum in the power indication.
1 ) Measuring Power: Since the initial objective is to operate the photovoltaic array at its maximum power point, many systems measure and maximize the power at the photovoltaic array terminals. It is more important, however, to maximize the actual usable power: the output power of the MPPT. Despite the theoretical advantage of measuring output power, the penalty for measuring array power is very small, and either can be used. This is because typical MPPTs are very high in efficiency over a wide range of operating points and so the maxima of input and output powers occur at very close to the same point. The array power can be measured by multiplying its voltage and current, either with a microprocessor [3] or with an analog multiplier [4]. In either case, the complexity, expense, and power required to measure and multiply the two quantities is undesirable. In [5] it is pointed out that with a battery of approximately constant voltage for a load, the output power can be maximized by just maximizing output current. In fact, the presence of the nearly-constant battery voltage is unnecessary. For a very large class of loads, measurement of current is adequate. If we assume that the dynamics of the load do not interact with the dynamics of the MPPT control system, we can consider only the static V - I curve of the load. If d P / d I for the load is bounded and strictly greater than zero, the maxima of power and current will correspond. This condition may be restated as - V / I < dV/dI < CO. In order to fail this test, a load must not only have an incrementally negative resistance, but must have one of substantial magnitude. Most loads one would wish to connect to the output of an M P P T have positive incremental resistance. For example, batteries, and dc motors at constant speed both have positive incremental resis-

tance. Because of the influence of the mechanical load, it is not possible t o conclude that the input to a dc motor will, in general, always have positive incremental resistance. However, a negative incremental resistance is highly unlikely in a real application. In real applications the special control problems a motor poses as an M P P T load are somewhat different. In particular, maximizing the power into the motor may simply maximize the power dissipated in the windings, not the power delivered to the load. Special control methods have been developed t o deal with this problem [6], but are not necessary for most applications. There is only one common type of load for which current sensing alone cannot be used to maximize power. That is a constant-power load, such as the input of a regulated-output DC-DC converter. For this load, d P / d I z 0. However, the problem here is not with the sensing or control method, but in the overall system goal- maximizing power into a constant power load. Furthermore, any well-behaved load, such as a battery or resistor, connected in parallel with the input of the DC-DC converter, solves the problem. For many loads, a voltage measurement would work equally well in place of a current measurement. However, in the case of a battery as the load, the MPPT output voltage changes relatively little with changes in output power, whereas the output current varies strongly. With any battery having non-zero internal resistance, sensing output voltage would work in theory, but would be difficult in practice. Furthermore, sensing current output instead allows many M P P T outputs to be connected in parallel. T h e dual of the battery, a constant current sink, would require voltage sensing instead of current sensing, but few practical loads resemble constant current sinks. In summary, sensing the output current of the maximum power point tracker and maximizing this quantity is not only adequate, but, with the exception of a few unusual cases of little practical importance, results in maximizing the quantity of interest- output power. Our design uses this technique.

2 ) Maximization Algorithms: One general approach to the problem of finding a local maximum of output power by adjusting array voltage is to sense the derivative, d P / d V , and use feedback to force this quantity to zero. Variations of this scheme are used in many published maximum power point tracker designs [4, 5, 7, 8, 91. One common variation, used in most of the references, is to dispense with explicit dependence on V , and instead directly use a control parameter, such as duty cycle. The derivative used is then d P / d D , and thus, no inner feedback loop controlling array voltage is needed. As discussed in the previous section, in our design P is also not used explicitly. The derivative actually used is dI,,t/dD. In order t o find d P J d V or dI,,t/dD, it is necessary for any power-feedback MPPT t o perturb V or D . There are two general techniques for doing this, described in [7] as autooscillation and forced-oscillatio n met hods. In forced-oscillation methods, used in [7, 91, a sinusoidal or other perturbation is added to V or D . In auto-oscillation methods [4, 5, 81 the perturbation is integral to the action of the control scheme. Auto-oscillation methods appear to generally use simpler circuitry, though both are clearly viable techniques. Figs. 1 and 2 show two types of auto-oscillation methods. Fig. 1, which we call the unclocked auto-oscillation method,



i &

Power Section


Fig. 1. Undocked auto-oscillation M P P T control system. Logic elements have a low state of -1 and a high state of 1.


Pore, Section

or output

d dt


Inte. rator

J K Flip Flop

Fig. 2. Clocked auto-oscillation M P P T control system. Logic elements have a low state of -1 and a high state of 1 .

is representative of the schemes used in [4, 51. Fig. 2 shows a block diagram of the circuit we used, which is similar to the algorithm implemented in a microprocessor in [8]. It is almost identical to the unclocked auto-oscillation method, but adds an external clock to the flip flop. The addition of the clock avoids the problems that the un-clocked method can have due to changes in insolation, as discussed in [5], or due to noise in the signal indicating output power. To understand this, first consider normal steady-state operation of the unclocked auto-oscillation method (Fig. 1). The logic elements in these block diagrams are considered to have a high logic state of one, and a low logic state of minus one. The flip flop changes states regularly, generating a square wave between minus one and one. The duty cycle control signal into the power section, D , is the integral of the output of the flip flop. It is a low-amplitude triangle wave, on top of a relatively large a dc offset. The triangle wave is the perturbation necessary to measure dI,,t/dD. The differentiation calculates dI,,,t/dt. Since the control signal is always the integral of plus or minus one, d D / d t is a constant magnitude, but changes sign when the flip flop changes state. Since h d D = dt d D the signal dI,,t/dt is proportional to dI,,t/dD, give or take a sign error. The possible sign error does produce some problems. However, the system can often function adequately despite the

sign uncertainty. Suppose the system starts with the control signal below the maximum power point, and with the flip flop state high. The duty cycle, D, and the output current w i l l both be ramping up. When the maximum power point is passed, the output current starts t o decrease, and so the output of the differentiator goes negative. The comparator trips, giving a pulse t o the flip flop. The flip flop changes state, and the ramp on the control signal changes direction. The power starts to increase again, and the process repeats, yielding a small oscillation around the maximum power point. The principal problem with this method is that it does not recover from an error. As explained in [5], it can respond to fluctuations in insolation by incorrectly changing the ramp direction and continuing to ramp away from the maximum power point. In our experimental implementation we found that similar problems could be caused by a noisy current sense signal. Because efficiency demands the use of a very small-value current-sense resistor, it is important to make the control robust with noise on this signal. In [5], the problem is mitigated by a comparator circuit that reverses the direction of the control signal ramp if a fault condition occurs. A fault condition is defined and sensed by the output current falling below a pre-determined limit. This remedy is not, however, a complete solution. When an error occurs, the control signal must stray far enough from the maximum power point for the output current to decrease to an unacceptable level before the comparator catches the error, and returns the circuit to the maximum power point. The energy lost during this excursion could be significant, and would be a problem if errors occurred frequently. Furthermore, having a lower boundary for acceptable output current decreases the range of conditions over which the circuit can operate. It can no longer operate under as low an insolation level. The clocked auto-oscillation method (Fig. 2) inherently has better error recovery. This can be understood in several different ways. First, consider the situation if, because of an error of some sort, the control signal is above the maximum power point, and the flip flop state is high, so that the control signal is moving in the wrong direction. The output of the differentiator will be negative, and a t the next clock cycle, the flip flop will change to the correct state. Even if the error is caused by a noise pulse of a long enough duration that the flip flop state is not corrected at the first clock cycle after the start of the error, it will still be corrected at the first clock cycle after the end of the noise pulse. The output of the differentiator in either system would be low after the error. However, the flip flop in the unclocked system requires an edge to change state, and if the input stays constantly high, it will never change state. Another way to understand the improvement offered by the clocked system is through the equivalent block diagram in Fig. 3, where the multiplier replaces part of the function of the JK flip flop. The differentiator still calculates d I / d t . But now the multiplier multiplies this by the input to the integrator, d D l d t . So the output of the multiplier is d I l d D , which can be used in place of d P / d V . Thus the problem of sign confusion in d I l d D , which occurs when d l l d t is used in place of d I l d D , is eliminated. We implemented the clocked auto-oscillation method with the analog circuitry shown in Fig. 4. Although the control

and to large steps is insolation within a second. Since this performance was good, it was not necessary t o adopt the variable step size refinement used in [8].

C. Multiple Local Maxima

Fig. 3. An equivalent block dia ram for the clocked auto-oscillation control system. Logic efements have a low state o f -1 and a high state of 1 .


1K . . .

47K .. .

All the maximization methods that have been discussed assume that finding a local maximum of power is adequate. However, there are situations in which the array characteristic includes multiple local maxima [lo]. A simple maximization strategy, searching for a local maximum, may find one other then the global maximum, resulting in suboptimal performance. Conditions producing multiple local maxima include array damage and unequal cell illumination due t o shading, dirt, or different angles of incidence. Some of these conditions are more likely to occur in a solar-powered race vehicle than they are in a stationary application. For example, parts of the array may be shaded by other parts of the vehicle when the sun is at a low angle, and unpredictable shading results when the vehicle passes under the shadows of other objects.

Fig. 5

Solar array used t o exhibit multiple local maxima. The five cells marked with single arrows were partially shaded to receive about half as much insolation as the rest.

JK Flip Flop

Fig. 4 . Analog circuit used t o implement clocked auto-oscillation control method. The output of from this control circuit is a dc control signal that feeds a PWM modulator (not shown).

algorithm in [8] is very similar, the implementation differs in that it uses a microprocessor, and calculates array power from measurements of array current and voltage, rather than using only output current. As a further refinement, the step size in [8] (corresponding to gain at the integrator in our system) is adjusted according t o whether the system appears to be in steady state, or searching for the proper operating point. The necessity of a perturbation to measure dP/dV or some related derivative means that no M P P T can operate continuously on the maximum power point. Thus on average the power delivered is less than that available at the maximum power point. It is important to quantify the resulting loss of power when reporting performance of an MPPT. Our measurements show under 0.15% power lost to this effect. The circuit responds to small changes in insolation within one half second,


Fig. 6 . Measured voltage-current characteristic of array exhibiting multiple local maxima. Solid line shows current, dashed line shows power.


To understand how an array can have multiple local maxima, consider the example of the the array shown in Fig. 5. Illuminated as indicated, with some of the cells half-shaded, this array has the measured V - I and power characteristics shown in Figure 6. At the higher-voltage local power maximum, both bypass diodes are reverse biased. The current is limited to the output of the half-shaded cells. The half shaded cells are producing near their maximum power output, but the unshaded cells are producing only about half of their maximum power output. At the lower-voltage power maximum, the halfshaded cells are bypassed by the diode. Now the unshaded cells can prsduce near their full current, and operate at their maximum power point. The unshaded cells, however, do not produce any power. This example was artificially set up to have close to the same maximum power at both points. In this case it is of little importance at which point the M P P T operates. However, with different numbers of cells shaded, and different degrees of shading, it is possible t o have a local maximum well below the global maximum. None of the control schemes previously considered were designed taking this possibility into account. The only one that does not simply find local maxima is the voltage-feedback method with open-circuit voltage measurement. This scheme a l s o has problems with conditions which produce multiple local maxima. In such conditions, it may not even operate on a local maximum. One method that could reliably find a global maximum in the presence of multiple local maxima would be to periodically interrupt normal operation, and scan the entire control range. This would be used to determine the approximate region of the global maximum. A conventional algorithm could then take over to zero in on the exact location of the maximum and track it between scans. The ability to add this feature to cope with multiple local maxima is an advantage of a microprocessorbased system.

From Solar Array









Fig. 7 . MPPT power section

point voltage of the array is near the battery voltage. In this case, converter topologies such as buck and boost are advantageous because only a small portion of the energy transferred is stored and released from the inductor. We chose a boost converter, with a nominal input of 40 V, 3A, and a nominal output voltage of 60V. The converter can operate over a wide range of input and output voltages and currents, but the design is optimized for these conditions. MOSFET size was chosen considering the tradeoff between conduction losses and drive power. This choice resulted in the use of devices rated for over 20 times the current they actually experience. The total of the drive and conduction losses is under 0.2%. Another benefit of using such large devices is that their dissipation is low enough that no heat sinking is needed, thus saving weight.
A . Inductor Design


The power section of the MPPT, shown in Fig. 7, is designed for very high efficiency and light weight. High efficiency requires low conduction losses, low switching losses, low drive power, and low passive component losses. Weight in power converters is typically primarily due to magnetics, capacitors, and heat sinks. Low heat-sink weight is generally compatible with high efficiency, since power devices with very low power losses will not need heat sinking. However, with magnetic components and power capacitors, losses can be lowered by making the component larger and heavier. Thus an optimization of the weight/loss tradeoff is important. Switching loss can be minimized by using zero-voltage or zero-current switching, or by operating at relatively low switching frequencies. We chose to operate at a relatively low switching frequency of 30 kHz with a conventional PWM topology. Using MOSFET switches with very rapid switching transitions and Schottky diodes, and with careful layout of the power and drive circuitry, the switching loss in our circuit proved to be low enough to be very difficult to measure, around 0.2% of the 120W throughput. The system can be designed so that the maximum power

The design of the inductor is important since it is the heaviest component in the circuit. We chose to use a gapped ferrite core for low losses. A round center post design gives slightly lowered winding resistance compared to a conventional square EE core. Litz wire was used to control eddy current losses. In order to properly choose the core size, an evaluation of the relative importance of power loss and weight, and an understanding of how inductor losses with size are both needed. From overall systems considerations similar t o those discussed in [3], we determined a working estimate of the tradeoff for weight and power loss as 1.0 W/kg. This can be used as a conversion factor between weight and power, in order to find the optimum size for the inductor. Given the choice of core type, and assuming adequately fine Litz wire, such that eddy current losses in the copper may be neglected, the inductor design problem reduces to two parameters: the number of turns, and the discrete choice of the core size. The choice of the number of turns then determines the maximum overall Litz wire bundle diameter, and thus the resistance. It also determines the gap length needed to achieve the required inductance, and the flux level. The optimization of these two parameters may be divided


into two cases, one in which the number of turns on a given core is chosen to minimize total loss, and the other in which the number of turns is determined by the need magnetic saturation with an adequate safety margin. An optimization performed ignoring the limitation of saturation results in a design that would not work, due to saturation. Thus the optimum is limited by saturation. Space precludes showing both optimizations, so we include only the saturation-limited optimization, which determined the final design. In the saturation-limited optimization, the peak flux density is given, as the maximum safe level chosen. T h e flux swing is a fixed fraction of the peak flux density. Thus the core loss is proportional t o the volume of the core or, for constant geometry, proportional to any dimension of the core cubed, P, a L3. The vehicular drive power required because of the weight of the core, P m , is also proportional to e3. T h e winding loss,

TABLE I Inductor Design


inductance number of turns number of strands strand gauge

150 ~ L H

135 36 AWG
16 mOhms

R i

winding resistance

RMS current
winding loss core type core material flux swing core loss weight weight-power factor equivalent loss due to weight total loss

3.1 A 158 mW EC41 3C85 0.12 T p p 54mW

77 I3 1 W/kg 77mW

Pw a Rw a (Neturn)

N (-) Aw


where A, is the window area in the core for the windings, eturn is the average turn length, and N is the number of turns. Since, for a given flux density,

289 mW

where A, is the cross-sectional area of the core,

B. Capacitor Selection (3)

Capacitor selection also involves a tradeoff between weight and power loss. The power loss considered includes not only the power loss in the element under consideration, but also other power loss that is affected by the size capacitor used. For the input filter capacitor, a smaller capacitor produces higher ripple on the solar array. T h e array then operates in a large region surrounding the maximum power point, and so operates at lower average output power. As before, the additional vehicular drive power required because of the weight of the capacitor should also be considered. The choices to be made are the capacitor size and the capacitor type. Because the optimum size depends on the capacitor type, the optimum size must be independently calculated for each capacitor type. From the results of this, the best type can be chosen. A high-capacitance-density metalized polyester type had the lowest total loss figure, including the loss equivalent Of weight. is Total Power loss associated with the (7) where Mcapis the mass of the capacitor, Pp is the power lost from the panel due to the current ripple, and i,, is the RMS ac current in the inductor. The capacitor is large enough that i, is also approximately equal to the current in the capacitor. We assume that ESR scales inversely with capacitance, and that weight scales in proportion to capacitance. Thus the first two terms in Pi, can be put in terms of the capacitance,

P, a -= e-5. (ez)2e
The total loss associated with the inductor is

= k3e3

+ kwe-5,


where k, accounts for winding losses, and k3 accounts for core loss and weight. Minimizing this results in the winding loss equal t o three fifths of the sum of the other losses,

P w = (3/5)(Pc

+ Pm).


This point can be calculated either by finding the constants, k3 and kw, explicitly, or by calculating the losses for a particular design, and finding the scaling factor that must be applied to bring the design t o the optimum ratio oflosses. For the purpose of illustration, the calculated losses in the final design, shown in Table I, will be used for the calculation of topt.From the ratio of winding to other losses in this design, the optimal size can be calculated as

where subscripts zero indicate values for the current design. Using values from Table I results in a value of eoptnine percent higher than the dimension of the EC41 size core used. Since the next larger available size is about 25% larger, the EC41 is in fact the closest size to the optimum. The minimum in loss is reasonably broad; if a custom core were made nine percent larger than the EC41, it would only reduce the total loss by 17 mW.

where k ~ and s km, ~ are constants determined from measurements or manufacturers data.

TABLE I1 Estimated Losses and Efficiency

Switching loss Diode loss Inductor loss Capacitor loss MOSFET conduction loss Sense resistor Other misc. losses Total estimated power-section loss Nominal power Measured power-section efficiency Measured power-section loss Discrepancy Weight Vehicular drive power due to weight
Power lost to imprecision of tracking

260 mW 1.22 w 212 mW 18 mW 150 mW 50 mW 200 mW 2.11 w 120 w 97.7

Since this is a Schottky diode operating at a relatively high voltage, it is very efficient compared t o typical diode applications. Little could be done to improve this efficiency, except replacing the diode with a synchronous rectifier. Thus, a synchronous rectifier would be the most likely candidate for further improvements in overall circuit efficiency.


+J- 0.4%

2.28 to 3.24 W 0.17 to 1.13 W 192 g 192 mW 180 mW 277 mW

Control section supply Equivalent efficiency, including drive power control section power, and tracking imprecision


The capacitor is large enough that the excursions on the

A maximum power point tracker, designed and optimized for a solar-powered race vehicle has been presented. T h e M P P T comprises a PWM boost converter for the power section, and a control section constructed with simple logic and analog electronics. T h e control method used is a d P / d V method. T h e generation of the perturbation used to measure d P / d V is integral to the action of the control circuit, but a clock is used in order to prevent tracking problems reported with some other designs. Sensing only output current, and not actual output power, has been shown to be adequate. T h e control circuit tracks the maximum power point closely enough that only 0.15% of available power from the array is lost due to tracking imprecision. T h e potential for mistracking due to multiple local maxima in the power-voltage curve has been noted. T h e power section is optimized for low power loss and light weight, using vehicle performance as a criterion for trading o f f these characteristics. Through careful design and consideration of all the major sources of power loss, greater than 97% efficiency is achieved.
[l] Ziyad Salameh, Fouad Dagher, and William A. Lynch. Stepdown maximum power point tracker for photovoltaic systems. Solar Energy, 46(5):279-282, 1991. [2] J. F.Schaefer and L. Hise. An inexpensive photovoltaic array maximum power point tracker. In Seventeenth IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, pages 643-646,1984. [3] Dean J . Patterson. Electrical system design for a solar powered vehicle. In Applied P o w e r Electronics Conference, pages 618-622, 1990. [4] Ziyad Salameh and Daniel Taylor. S t e p u p maximum power point tracker for photovoltaic arrays. Solar Energy, 44(1):57-61,1990. [5] h m i h i k o Umeda, Masato H. Ohsato, Gunji Kimura, and Mitsuo Shioya. New control method of resonant dc-dc converter in small scaled photovoltaic system. In P E S C '92 Record, volume 2, pages 714-718,June 1992. [6] W . G . Dunford, L. Welder, and P. R.B. Ward. T h e production of impulsive torques in a photovoltaic powered pumping system. In PESC '92 Record, volume 2,pages 719-725,J u n e 1992. [7] Vittorio Arcidiacono, Sandro Corsi, and Luciano Lambri. Maximum power point tracker for photovoltaic power plants. In Proceedings of the 16th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, pages 507512,September 1982. [ S I Parag Bhide and S. R. Bhat. Modular power conditioning unit for photovoltaic applications. In P E S C '92 Record, volume 2, pages 709-713, J u n e 1992. ( 9 1 Alan Cocconi and Wally Rippel. GM Sunraycer case history, lecture 3-1: T h e Sunraycer power system. Technical Report M-101, Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale PA 15096-0001, 1990. [lo] H.M. Branz. T h e effect of operating-point-control strategy on the annual ener y production of photovoltaic arrays. In Proceedings of the 16th YEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, pages 525531,September 1982.

V - I curve of the array are small, and for the calculation of

Pp, the array may be approximated by a Thevenin equivalent

circuit. This results in an approximation,

(9) where C is the value of the input capacitor, and R , is the resistance modeling the panel, 13.352. T h e parameters for the metalized polyester capacitor type chosen, RESR = 1.28 x ohms/F, and k , = 600 kg/F, result in a minimum A, of 17 mW at 17.9pP. Because the minimum is broad, a value of lOpF was used instead, for convenience and lower cost. This introduced only 6 mW additional loss. Although this may make it seem that the optimization was not necessary, note that with no capacitor, the loss would be 8 Watts.

C. Overall Eficiency and Loss Budget

Table I1 shows the estimated or measured sources of power loss in the converter, and a measurement of the total loss. There is a small but significant discrepancy between estimated and measured total loss. T h e efficiency measurement was done by using the same 5 ; digit multimeter to measure input and output voltage, and voltage across 4-terminal sense resistors that were added to the input and output. The ratio of the sense resistor values was carefully measured by putting a current through them in series and measuring voltage on each. In contrast, the individual component losses could not be measured as carefully. From our estimates, the largest loss is in the output diode.