Exact Maximum Power Point Tracking of Partially Shaded PV Strings Based on Current Equalization Concept

Pooja Sharma1, Pradeep K. Peter2, and Vivek Agarwal1, Senior member, IEEE
1

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2

Indian Space Research Organization, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
(1) It does not result in the formation of multiple peaks (as with the use of bypass diode) in the power-voltage characteristics of the overall array output, thus enabling the conventional MPPT algorithms (e.g. hill climbing method) to work satisfactorily. (2) More efficient because each DC-DC converter supplies only the balance (equalization) current, thereby resulting in negligible losses.

Abstract — Under partially shaded conditions, series connection of PV modules results in the flow of lowest current in the PV string, thus reducing the power output. To maximize power output, it is necessary to ensure that maximum possible current flows in the string. This needs current equalization across the modules. To achieve this, a converter is connected in parallel with each PV module. This converter provides the extra (equalization) current in parallel with the shaded module to make the string current equal to the maximum string current i.e. the current corresponding to the least shaded PV module. The equalization current supports the PV module to have its voltage regulated at a value that corresponds to its MPP (Maximum Power Point) voltage. However, the existing current equalization schemes use approximate maximum power point voltage and not an exact one. This paper proposes an improvement over the existing schemes by using synchronous fly-back converters to regulate the exact MPP voltage across PV modules in a partially shaded PV array. Unlike existing schemes that operate on similar principle, the proposed scheme makes no assumptions and ensures that each module is regulated at its exact MPP voltage i.e. exact MPP of individual PV module is tracked. Index Terms — current equalization, fly-back converter, maximum power point tracking, partial shading, photovoltaic module.

istr-max istr-max-iPV1 iPV1
v1
DC-DC Conv

MPPT

Cout

istr-max-iPVn iPVn
vn
DC-DC Conv

I.

INTRODUCTION

(a)

Mismatch in the characteristics of PV modules due to nonuniform solar radiation, temperature and manufacturing inequalities leads to a significant power loss in PV systems. When subjected to partial shading conditions, various PV modules of an n module string tend to generate different currents (iPVn). But PV modules connected in series must carry the same current, which should correspond to the maximum current (istr-max) generated by any PV module of the string. To ensure this, a DC-DC converter is connected in parallel to each PV module as per the equalization scheme proposed by Kutkut et. al. for charge equalization of series connected battery string [1]. The DC-DC converter derives its input power from the capacitor connected at the overall output of the PV array. For an n module string, the nth converter provides the extra (equalization) current equal to (istr-max - iPVn) to make the string current equal to istr-max. The module voltage is appropriately regulated to a value corresponding to its MPP (Maximum Power Point) voltage with the DC-DC converter while providing the necessary equalization current as shown in Fig. 1(a). This scheme has the following advantages:

(b) Fig. 1. (a) Current equalization scheme (b) Measured temperature coefficients for voltage for a 36-cell c-Si module measured outdoors, with and without back surface thermal insulation [6]

However determination of precise equalization current depends upon the knowledge of the exact MPP of each PV module. Though, the equalization scheme has been attempted

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Unfortunately. (a) Block diagram of the PV system with the proposed current equalization scheme. Ideal PV cell model is considered in this work. SWn2 [Fig. 1(b) [6]. A fly-back converter is used with each PV module as shown in Fig. the MPP voltage does change with solar radiation (more significantly at lower solar radiation levels) and temperature of PV modules as is clear from Fig.by a few researchers. Mode 2 is fly.. (b) Fly-back converter unit for nth PV module Fly-back converter switch SWn1 and SWn2 are OFF during this mode. A fast and accurate control scheme that employs a semiconductor switch (a MOSFET) is used to determine the ‘exact’ MPP voltage of each PV module by making the PV module traverse from open circuit to short circuit condition to track and capture the MPP [8]. 2(a). which drives 978-1-4673-0066-7/12/$26. These MPP voltages are given as reference to corresponding fly-back converters and ΣVPV|MPP is given as reference to MPPT unit at the overall output of PV array. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED CURRENT EQUALIZATION SCHEME A PV array. 2. Shimizu et al.00 ©2011 IEEE 001412 . the switch SWn3 is driven from OFF to ON state through Ohmic region as shown in Fig. Literature on other current equalization schemes is reviewed in [7]. The flyback converter is slightly modified by connecting a switch. These modes are explained as follows: A. The GCC scheme has all the desirable features except that the PV modules are made to operate at a fixed. MPPT mode: Switch SWn3 is employed to determine the exact MPP voltage of each PV module as shown in Fig. 2(b)] on its secondary side to enable MPPT mode as explained in subsequent paragraphs.. RPVn is the resistor between PV module and drain of SWn3 for current measurement. This ensures the generation of a precise equalization current for each PV module. 3 is given as iDn = iPVn = I SCn − I o (e KV I PVn − 1) (1) where. (a) (b) Fig. KV is the constant depends on temperature and cell parameters. consisting of several strings of PV modules. iDn is the drain current of SWn3 switch. IPV|MPP) and currents of each PV module. Switch SWout is OFF during this mode. In the modified and improved current equalization scheme proposed in this paper. Schemes proposed in all these papers make the PV modules operate at approximate MPP based on the assumption that the MPP voltage does not change significantly with solar radiation and temperature. In ohmic region the drain current which is equal to the PV module current as clear from Fig.back mode in which the converter works as conventional fly-back converter. Mode 1 is the MPP mode which will determine the exact MPP voltage (VPV|MPP. iPVn is the PV module current. n represents the nth PV module. 2(b). each PV module is made to operate (regulated) at its exact MPP voltage.. they use some approximation to determine the MPP of each module.3] have proposed the GCC scheme based on equalization concept. Walker et al. II. During this mode. ISCn is the short circuit current of nth PV module. The output capacitor (Cout) serves as the dc source for each of these converters. The details of the scheme are described in the next section. [4] and Nimni et al. Each fly-back converter operates in two modes. The operation of MOSFET in Ohmic region is achieved by sweeping the VGS voltage in appropriate range. 3 [8]. feeds power into a capacitor (Cout) through an electromechanical relay SWout. vDSn is the drain to source voltage of SWn3. identical voltage (which is not equal to the exact MPP voltage of the module). however. [2. During this the PV module voltage traverses from VOC to ISC through maximum power point. [5] have proposed modified current equalization schemes based on power shuffling by using non isolated bi-directional C`uk converter and fly-back converters respectively where each converter processes the power difference between adjacent PV modules. Io is the dark saturation current. Voltage across nth PV module is given by vPVn = v DSn − iDn × RPVn (2) where vPVn is the PV module voltage. There is a significant improvement in the extracted power from partial shaded array with the proposed scheme.

When SWn1 is ON and SWn2 is OFF energy is stored in primary winding of transformer as shown in Fig. Fly-back converter is used to regulate the PV module voltage which is determined in MPPT mode at VMPP by (b) Fig. There is an overall MPPT unit at the PV array output. 3. Once the MPP points are tracked and latched. This will simplify the system working as well as reduce the tracking time. IPVoutref(MPPT)) to overall MPPT unit at the array output. The output voltage of the PV array vPV(out) is equal to the addition of the MPP voltages of PV modules in a series string. Iequaln is the equalization current at the output of fly-back converter and Iconv_inn is the input current to the fly-back converter.00 ©2011 IEEE 001413 .the operating point of PV module from VOC to ISC through VPV|MPP and IPV|MPP. the summation of these voltages (ΣVPVn|MPP) and the string current (IPV|MPP) are given as the reference (VPVoutref(MPPT). 4(b). VPV(out) is the output voltage. Switch SWn1 and SWn2 are operated synchronously. Once the MPP voltages and currents are latched during the MPPT mode. The input current to the converter from the output capacitor is iconv_inn. In this way the fly-back converter regulates the exact maximum power point voltage VPV|MPP across the PV module and provides the equalization current for the shaded PV module. 2(b). During this mode of operation the steady state PV module voltage is given as VPVn|MPP = Dn N2 × VPV ( out ) N1 1 − Dn (3) The equalization current at fly-back converter’s output is I equaln = N1 1 − Dn × I conv _ inn N2 Dn (4) where. Fly-back mode: At the end of mode 1 after latching the MPP voltages switch SWout is turned ON. When switch SWn1 is OFF and SWn2 is ON the energy stored in primary is transferred to secondary as shown in Fig. System operation during MPP mode B. there is no need of a MPPT tracking algorithm for the overall MPPT unit. 4(a). 4. Dn is the duty cycle of SWn1. N2 and N1 are the secondary and primary winding turns of fly-back converter. Fly-back mode during ON and OFF states respectively of switch SW1 III. VPVn|MPP is the maximum power point voltage of nth PV module. The input to this MPPT unit will always be single peak power voltage curve after current equalization. the converter works as the conventional fly-back converter. During MPP mode switch SWn1 and SWn2 are OFF. (a) Fig. During this mode. CONTROL STEPS FOR PROPOSED SCHEME A parallel control is implemented for all the fly-back converters in the present work. A synchronous fly-back converter is used to reduce the losses as well as to enable MPP mode as explained in the above paragraph and as shown in Fig. During fly-back mode of operation switch SWn3 is always OFF. providing the equalization current. a reference signal is given to the corresponding fly-back converter to regulate the same. Therefore. Each converter is controlled 978-1-4673-0066-7/12/$26.

(a) 978-1-4673-0066-7/12/$26. B2bypass diodes. B1[2]. Once the MPP voltages of the PV modules are latched the intelligent controller does the summation of PV modules voltages and will give a reference signal to the MPPT unit at the array output. Figure 5 (b).3V. After a scan period of time period. it stores the previous values of voltage and current (at which power is maximum) in the memory. Thus. The voltage corresponding to MPP is 17. At the same time. the output voltage of flyback converter or the PV module voltage traverses from VOC to almost zero passing through the MPP. The switch SWn3 is derived from OFF state to ON state which drives PV module from open circuit to short circuit as depicted in Fig. It is clear from Fig. Series control is not presented in this paper. The fly-back converter is operated with synchronous switches SWn1 and SWn2 to regulate the corresponding MPP voltage across each PV module.00 ©2011 IEEE 001414 . SWout is required to be opened for a fraction of millisecond to track the maximum power point. The parallel control with two modes of operation is explained in the flow chart given in Fig.6V for first and second module respectively. Series control can also be implemented in which case only one controller is required. Once the MPP voltage is latched. During this period. 5(a). (a) Flow chart of the proposed control scheme (b) PV module voltage and currents waveforms for MPP mode (c) Comparison of converter’s output voltages (VPV1.VPV2) and system output power with the proposed scheme (A) and existing schemes (B1. (b) (c) Fig.16V and 14. first the switch SWout is turned OFF. t.74A. the switch SWn3 is turned OFF and switch SWout is promptly turned ON. the corresponding fly-back converter’s switch SWn1 and SWn2 is held OFF for sufficient time period (say td). shows the simulation results for PV2 voltage and current in MPP mode of operation. As SWn3 is driven from OFF state to ON state.individually by its controller and receives PWM signal. IMP = 1. ISC = 1. PV2) are given in this section. the circuit works as follows: When it is desired to determine the MPP voltage of a module. Simulation results: A non uniform solar radiation of 1000 W/m2 (PV1) and 500 W/m2 (for PV2) is considered. The specifications of the PV module are: VOC = 20. Once the power difference becomes less than a pre-specified limit. VMP = 17. The discussion of the simulation and hardware results is as follows: A. IV. In MPPT mode. Figure 5 (c) shows the simulation results of output voltages and maximum power of the two PV modules with the proposed and existing schemes [2]. An intelligent controller continuously computes and compares the power during each step (iteration).93A. 5. controller goes to resonant MPPT mode again and the process repeats. SIMULATION AND EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS Simulations as well as experimental results for two series connected PV modules (PV1. B2).8V. 5 (c) that with proposed scheme. each PV module is operated at MPP voltage irrespective of mismatch in solar radiation values and the connections of the PV modules. a ramp signal of appropriate range is applied to the gate of switch SWn3 which drives the switch from OFF state to ON state through active region. 5 (b).

IPV2 =0. 6(a). 6(a). Figure 6 (c) demonstrate the experimental results of both the PV modules in mode2. PV current and current equalization for two PV modules is presented in Table1. The maximum power generated from non shaded PV module is 2.2A) point. 6(a).56 0. Switch SWn1 SWn2 and SWn3 used in the experiments are n channel MOSFET (IRF 640). Figure 6(b) shows the experimental results of non shaded PV module (PV1) in mode1 (MPPT mode). a MPP load is considered to demonstrate the concept.6 Iequal(A) [2] (P) 0 0 1. the maximum power generated from non shaded PV module is 13.TABLE 1 COMPARISON OF VOLTAGES.58W.r. Experimental Details and results: Fly-back converter used for current equalization scheme with each PV module is shown in Fig.0 14. 5(c)) is 30.0A. The power generated by each PV module is delivered to the MPP load.76 1. PV MODULE CURRENT AND CONVERTER OUTPUT CURRENT WITH EXISTING SCHEME [2] AND PROPOSED SCHEME (P) G 1000 500 IPV(A) [2] (P) 1.22A. Flyback converter is fabricated for 30W power capacity. Maximum power point voltages and currents determined in the MPP mode for non shaded PV module are 14.7W. 5(c) that a power improvement of 10% with respect to B1 and improvement of 35% w.8W. Similarly for shaded PV module. Two mono-crystalline (SM30L) PV modules are used in the experimental set up to compare the power output under partially shaded conditions with the proposed current equalization scheme as shown in Fig.85 VPV(V) [2] (P) 17. B. The total power yield by using bypass diodes (referred as B2 in Fig.74 0.0V and 0. (a) Experimental set up picture (b) Experimental result for shaded PV module in mode1 (c) Experimental results in mode 2 for output voltage at the load and the equalization currents (iequal1.9V VPV2=12.54 W. the MPPT mode determines the VMP (12. iequal2) given by two fly-back converters. After the exact MPP points are determined in mode1 for both the PV modules the fly-back converters operate to regulate the corresponding MPP voltage across each module. 6. 5(c)) is 41. The regulated output voltages of fly-back converter across the PV modules are VPV1=13. Therefore. and power obtained with the proposed scheme (referred as A in Fig. instead of using a MPPT unit.7 results for the output currents of fly-back converters of both the PV modules.9 41.97A current.15 17. The value of the capacitor Cn across each PV module is 50µF and the output DC capacitor is 1000 µF.89 PMP(W) [2] (P) 37.00 ©2011 IEEE 001415 . It is clear from Fig. In the present experiment.22A current and therefore. the corresponding fly-back converter has to provide the equalization current. One PV module is artificially shaded by covering with a partially transparent sheet as shown in Fig. 978-1-4673-0066-7/12/$26. power achieved with the existing method [2] (referred as B1 in Fig. B2 scheme is achieved. The experimental results of both the modules are given in this section. Figure 6(c) shows the experimental (a) (b) (c) Fig. 5(c)) where VPV|MPP = Vout/n is 37.7V) and IMP (0.2 0.9W.0 17. The shaded PV module generates 0.t. A MPP load is used to extract the maximum power generated by both the PV modules. Comparison of PV voltage.6V and their corresponding currents are IPV1 =1.

8W Input to both the converters is taken from the output capacitor Cout.” Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference. A. D. Progress seminar report. vol. [4] G. 562568. Divan. difficulties.” IEEE Transaction on Power Electronics.112-117. and P. This approach is more efficient and simple to implement. Paris. “PV string permodule maximum power point enabling converters.1183-1186. There is a significant improvement of power over the existing schemes. Novotny. vol. The power generated by the non shaded and shaded PV module in mode 2 is pPV1 = vPV1×iPV1 =13. 2003. Kutkut. Schmilovitz. [3] T. Nimni. M. pp. CONCLUSIONS An exact maximum power point tracking strategy suitable for current equalization schemes for partially shaded PV strings has been presented here. 2001.” IEEE Transaction on Industrial Electronics. 49. pp.87A. Shimizu. July-2011. T. J. 18. pp.” Annual Ph. 1995. 31. D. 1997. “Distributed MPPT schemes for PV systems.” IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems. M. O. “A novel high-performance utility-interactive photovoltaic inverter system. and H.00 ©2011 IEEE 001416 .D. France. vol.5A. pp. [2] T. 0. “Charge equalization for series connected battery strings. Whereas. 2191-2194. Hashimoto. 978-1-4673-0066-7/12/$26. Kimura. Nakamoto. 16. S. Walker. R. 2003. V. June 2010. “Temperature coefficients for PV modules and arrays: measurement methods. IIT-Bombay. Christchurch. 2002.L. “A Returned architecture for improved photovoltaic systems efficiency.” IEEE Transaction on Power Electronics. “Short-current pulse-based maximum-power-point-tracking method for multiple photovoltaic-and-converter module system.05A and for shaded module is 0. W. Input current for non shaded PV module is 0. King. pp. and R. It is clear from the power calculations of experimental values that with the proposed current equalization scheme each PV module is able to deliver the maximum power which they can generate. and results. [7] Pooja Sharma. Kamezawa. Dept. vol. the output current (equalization current) of non shaded PV module’s converter is very less.217-223. The experimental results for mode1 and mode 2 of the proposed scheme are provided. 704-711. REFERENCES [1] N.” 26th IEEE PVSC. Hirakata. and D. Xue. New Zealand. 293-300. the PV modules always operate at maximum power point irrespective of the configuration in which the modules are connected and in spite of non uniform solar radiation.It is clear from Fig 6(c) that the output current (equalization current) of shaded PV module’s fly-back converter is approx. Kratochvil. [5] Y.” IEEE Tranaction on Industry Applications. Noguchi. Watanabe. The simulation and experimental results show that with the proposed scheme.9W pPV2 = vPV2×iPV2 =2. and G. Sernia. Togashi. Shimizu. “Generation control circuit for photovoltaic modules. [6] D. pp. and J. [8] T. pp. of Electrical Engineering. The MPP of individual PV module is achieved with the help of a switch and intelligent controller. H.