High Gain Single-Stage Inverter for Photovoltaic AC

Modules
Omar Abdel-Rahim, IEEE Student Member, Mohamed Orabi, IEEE Senior Member and Mahrous E. Ahmed, IEEE
Member
APEARC, South Valley University,
Aswan City 81542, Egypt
orabi@ieee.org

Abstract- in this paper, a high gain single-stage buck-boost
grid-connected system is proposed. The proposed system consists
of a high voltage gain - high efficiency - switched inductor buck-
boost converter (SIBBC) and a folded cascade H-bridge inverter.
The proposed converter switch is derived with a sinusoidal
modulation, so that the converter output voltage is a rectified
sine wave which requires only a folded cascade as a second stage.
Therefore, H-bridge is used to fold converter output voltage at
fundamental frequency that eliminates the switching loss. The
proposed system is used to connect the PV module to the grid
with achieving maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) control;
AC module. The converter operates in DCM to inject a
sinusoidal current into the grid with unity power factor. The
proposed dc-ac system has some advantages such as low cost,
small size and simple control. In addition, the grid connection,
MPP, and unity power factor controls are executed through only
one switch, the converter switch. A prototype has been built and
tested for validation. Some selected simulation and experimental
results have been provided.
Keywords — Single-Stage, Low-Switching-losses, High-Gain,
SIBBC, H-bridge, DCM, MPPT.

I. INTRODUCTION
In recent years, the substantial increase of research and
development work in the area of photovoltaic (PV) systems
have made the PV power generators a feasible alternative
energy resource that complements other energy sources in
hybrid energy systems. The trend of fast increase of the PV
energy use is related to the increasing efficiency of solar cells
as well as the improvements of manufacturing technology of
solar panels. The PV generators can either be grid connected
(operate in distributed generation systems) or can operate in
stand-alone systems [1].
A photovoltaic panel is a device that, through the
photoelectric effect, converts luminous energy into electric
energy. Despite the electric energy is available in the terminals
of the panels in the same instant that the light reaches it, most
of the electric equipment of standard use cannot directly be
connected. This because the panel generated current is
continuous (DC) and at low voltage (generally between 12 and
68 volts, depending on the technology used in the panel
construction) and the majority of the equipment operates at
alternating current (AC), at higher voltages [2]. This brings
the need for power interface or as called power conditioning
inverter.
H-Bridge inverter, shown in Fig. 1 is used to convert dc
power into ac power, there are many pulse width modulation
(PWM) techniques used to control the inverter switches. If all
switches operate at fundamental grid frequency, the output of
the inverter will contain low order harmonics so that large
output filter is required to remove them. PWM techniques
were introduced in [3] to provide high output quality with low
filter size; this is done by operating the inverter at high
switching frequency. It is worth noting that these approaches
suffer from high switching losses which reduce the efficiency
of the inverter. H-Bridge Inverter is a bucking-mode converter
that requires an input voltage of greater than the designed
output voltage. In this case, a boost converter is required to be
employed before the inverter to boost the PV voltage into the
required level as shown in Fig. 2 [4].
Inverters may be classified as single stage and two stage
configurations. Two stages inverters consist of two cascaded
stages. The first stage is a boost dc-dc converter and the
second one is an H-bridge inverter. Single stage inverters
should do both functions of boosting the input voltage and
converting it into ac voltage. Single stage inverters have some
advantages over two stage inverters; such as low cost and
compact size. On the other hand, it suffers from low gain and
low efficiency compared to two stage inverters [5]-[8].



Figure 1: H-bridge Inverter


978-1-4244-8085-2/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE 1961


Figure 2: Two stages H-Bridge inverter [4].



Figure 3: The proposed dc-ac system.


Typically, the grid-connected PV systems may be required
to either buck or boost the voltage levels depending on the
available PV array voltage. Usually, grid-connected PV
systems involve multiple power stages, with a dedicated DC–
DC converter stage for MPPT and voltage level
transformation. The disadvantage with multi-stage systems is
that they have a relatively lower efficiency, larger size and
higher cost. Therefore the modern day trend is derived
towards single-stage grid-connected configurations because of
their small size, low cost, high efficiency and high reliability.
Clearly, the single-stage philosophy cannot afford a dedicated
DC–DC converter stage for MPPT. Therefore, in single-stage
grid-connected (SSGC) PV systems, the sole power stage
must achieve MPPT, boosting or bucking (if required) and
inversion together.
The proposed inverter in this paper consists of switched
inductor buck-boost converter with PWM modulation
followed by a 50Hz H-bridge inverter; all switches of the H-
bridge inverter are switched at fundamental grid frequency to
reduce switching losses and so improving the efficiency of the
inverter. Buck-boost converter switch is modulated using sine
wave at high switching to reduce the size of the output filter.
The converter operates in the DCM to inject a naturally
sinusoidal current into the grid with unity power factor.
The paper is organized in the following way. Section II
presents analysis and operation of the proposed system and its
principle of operation. Section II presents maximum power
point tracking technique. Section IV summarizes simulation
results of the proposed system. Section V summarizes some
experimental results of the proposed system.


II. THE PROPOSED INVERTER SYSTEM
The proposed dc-ac system is shown in Fig 3. It consists of
a sine-modulated buck-boost converter operates in DCM to
inject current into the grid with unity power factor and to
provide low filter size at the output. This switch is the main
control switch that can execute the proposed control
commands. The H-bridge inverter switches operate at the grid
fundamental frequency to reduce the switching losses and to
provide higher efficiency. It works as a folded cascade unit.
During positive half cycle; switches SW2 and SW5 are always
on and during negative half cycle; switches SW3 and SW4 are
always on.
Buck-Boost converter inductor will be replaced by
switched inductor proposed in [9]. It is worth noting that
adding switched inductor introduces the advantage of high
voltage gain with keeping the efficiency almost without
change. The only limitation of the proposed converter is that it
operates in DCM (AI > I), that's inductor current ripple is
higher than CCM operation that gives a limit to the power
rating to be processed; which is the same feature of any DCM
operation. However, as the target application is the AC
modules where the required power to be process is in the
range of hundred watts, DCM operation is the suitable choice.
When the converter operates in DCM, it has three modes
of operation as shown in Fig. 4. Mode-1, Fig. 4 (b), takes
place when SW1 and diodes D1 and D3 are on. In this case,
the steady state equation of the converter is given by:

:
L
= I
g
(1)

i
c
= -
v
0
R
(2)

Mode 2 occurs when diodes D2 and D4 are on and SW1 is off
as shown in Fig. 4(c),

:
I
= -
v
c
2
(3)
i
c
= I
I
-
v
c
R
(4)

Mode 3 occurs when SW1 and all diodes are off as shown in
Fig. 4(d). Then, the inductor current becomes zero.

:
I
= u (5)
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Figure 4: (a) Switched inductor buck-boost converter (b) mode 1 (c) mode2
(d) mode 3.


i
c
= -
v
c
R
(6)

Figure 5 shows inductor current and Fig. 6 shows diode D4
current. From steady state analysis and balance theory, the
average value of inductor voltage is zero;

< :
I
¸ u (7)
< i
d
>=
v
c
R
(8)

Using (7) and (8), the gain of the converter can be obtained as
follow:

v
c
v
g
= √2 - K (9)

Where K = Ð
2
- I
s
-
R
2-L
, D: the converter dusty cycle, Ts is
the switching period, L is the converter inductor, and R is the
load resistance. Equation (9) shows that the gain of the
converter is higher than traditional buck boost converter by √2.
Figure 7 shows a comparison between the gain of the switched
inductor and the traditional buck-boost converter. It is clear
that the gain of the switched inductor is higher than traditional
buck boost converter, especially for higher duty cycles.


III. THE PROPOSED CONTROL
The proposed control is based on DCM operation. It
requires the achievement of MPPT and unity power factor for
the output current of the inverter in addition to boosting the
input voltage into its required level. Figure 8 shows the
schematic of the proposed system, as shown in the figure, grid
voltage is sensed to provide control signal for the H-bridge
inverter to operate in synchronization with grid voltage, PV
module's voltage and current are provided to the MPPT
controller to generate reference signal. To provide sinusoidal
modulation, grid voltage is rectified and then multiplied by the
reference signal, comparing its output with adjusted sawtooth
to generate converter control signal.




Figure 5: inductor current.




Figure 6: diode D4 current.



Figure 7: Comparison between Switched inductor and traditional buck-boost
converter.
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Figure 8: Proposed control circuit.


1) MPPT Control Algorithm
PV generation efficiency and power quality are the
fundamental issues. PV power sources are usually integrated
with control algorithms that have the task of ensuring
maximum power point (MPP) operation. Many algorithms
have been developed for tracking the maximum power point
of a solar array [10]-- -[12]. Most commonly used are the
perturb-and-observe (P&O) algorithm [10] and the
incremental conductance algorithm [11]. The main
disadvantages of these algorithms include oscillations around
the optimal operating point and the necessity of measuring the
array current. Consequently, researchers have been focused on
the improvement of maximum-power-point-tracking (MPPT)
control and the reduction of total harmonic distortion (THD).
It is very important to design the MPPT control operation so
that the voltage ripple at the terminals of the PV module is a
minimum. This can be achieved if the operation is performed
without too much fluctuation. Maximum power point tracking
algorithm proposed in [13] will be used in this paper. Figure 9
shows the flowchart of the used MPPT control technique
where I
n
, and I
n
are the momentary voltage and current of the
PV array. I
p
And I
p
are the previous voltage and current,
respectively. The
dP
dv
term can be replaced by I + (
dI
dV
)v ,
making the calculation easier. The major check of this
algorithm is achieved by detecting I +[
dI
dV
¸ v, and then D
(duty) will be adjusted in order to move the operating point
into the direction of maximum power point of the PV array.
The algorithm begin with checking if uv = u or not. If
uv = u , then uI is checked. For uI = u , D is held
unchanged. For I > u , D is decreased, while if uI < u , D is
increased. On the other hand, if uv = u, then I + [
dI
dV
¸ v is
should be checked. For I + [
dI
dV
¸ v = u , D is held unchanged,
but if I +[
dI
dV
¸ v > u , then D must be decreased and if
I +[
dI
dV
¸ v < u, D must be increased. Then, the algorithm
continues until we reach to maximum power point.

2) Unity Power Factor Control
Current injected into the grid must be sinusoidal and in
phase with grid voltage, so that to achieve unity power factor
DCM is utilized.
For the converter operating in the DCM, the following
condition must be satisfied:

I < ∆I (10)

Where I is the inductor current and ∆I is the inductor
current ripple, for the SIBBBC I and ∆I is given by the
following equations:

I =
-v
c
R(1-Ð)
(11)

∆I =
v
g
-Ð-1
s
2-L
(12)

From (10), (11) and (12), the value of required converter
inductor that makes the converter operates in DCM is obtained.
Output capacitor of the converter should be selected small to
avoid smoothing the output voltage and keeping it in
sinusoidal shape. It is worth nothing that larger value of this
capacitor distorts the output current. The value of the capacitor
could be calculated using the following equation:

∆I =
v
c
-Ð-1
s
2-R
(13)

Where ∆I is the capacitor voltage ripple for the proposed
system ∆I will be large to keep output voltage as a rectified
sine wave.

The proposed system has the advantages of low switches
stresses as compared to two stages system. For converter
switch SW1, the voltage stress is given by I
o
+ I
ìn
, where I
o

here equal to grid voltage and vary from zero to maximum
value of the grid voltage, while in case of two stages system I
o

is dc value and must be greater than grid voltage. Similar, it is
clear the switches in H-bridge inverter have lower stresses
than two stage system. These are added advantage into the
proposed system.

IV. SIMULATION RESULTS
The proposed system was simulated using PSIM software.
Two PV modules of the BP485 85W PV module are used [14].
Circuit parameters are as follows: fs = 10 kHz, input capacitor
Cp =10 mF, filter capacitor Cf = 1µF, switched inductors
L1=L2=85 µH and output filter inductor Lf =3.5 mH. The grid
voltage and frequency are 311V and 50Hz, respectively.
Figure 10 shows simulation results of the grid current which is
in-phase with the grid voltage and has low total harmonic
distortion. Figure 11(a) shows pulses of SW1 switch and Fig.
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11(b) and (c) shows pulses of H-bridge inverter switches.
Figure 12 shows the inductor current, as shown the current has
a shape like a rectified sine this is due to sinusoidal
modulation. Figure 13(a) shows output voltage of the
converter, the output of the converter as shown is a rectified
sine wave. Figure 13(b) is the grid voltage and Fig. 13(c) is
the output voltage of the PV module. These results confirm
the operation of the converter with a unity power factor
operation. Also, MPPT can be checked as shown in Fig. 14
where the output power of the PV module is kept constant at
170W. Figure 15 shows control output signals; Fig. 15 (a) is
the output of the MPPT controller. As shown in the figure, the
control change the reference until it achieves maximum power
but due to sinusoidal modulation output of the MPPT control
is always oscillate and Fig. 15 (b) shows the modulation signal
which is generated by multiplying the output of the MPPT
controller by a rectified sinewave with a unity amplitude.
Figure 16 and 17 show switches’ voltage stresses SW1, SW2,
SW3, SW4 and SW5. As shown in these figures, all switches
have lower stresses. On the other hand, it is clear that the
modules operate at its maximum power. Also, the proposed
inverter efficiency has been measured from simulation about
88%. This resulted high efficiency is due to small switching
losses design.



Figure 9: Flowchart of the MPPT control.




Figure 10: Grid current multiplied by 50 and grid voltage.



Figure 11: Switches pulses (a) switch SW1 pulses (b) Switches SW2 and SW6
pulses (c) switches SW4 and Sw5 pulses.




Figure 12: Inductor current.




Figure 13: Converter performance (a) output voltage of the converter (b) Grid
Voltage (c) PV output voltage.

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Figure 14: PV output power.



Figure 15: Control output (a) MPPT controller output (b) modulation signal.



Figure 16: Switch SW1 voltage.



Figure 17: H-bridge inverter switches voltage (a) switches SW2 and SW5
voltage (b) switches SW3 and SW4 voltage.



V. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
A prototype for the proposed PV system has been
established in the lab. The prototype was built using three
inductors two 85µH for the converter and one 3.3 mH for the
filter, three MBR40250G diodes and one RURG8060 diode,
two capacitors 10 mF and 1µF, H-bridge was constructed
using four IRFP27N60KPBF switches while the converter
switch is IXFT36N50P. The control was applied using FPGA
kit to produce the PWM modulation signal for the buck-boost
switch. 16f877 PIC IC where used to convert analog signals
into digital signals to be the inputs for the FPGA kite. Figure
18 shows input current and output voltage of the buck-boost
converter. As shown in the figure, the input current has large
low frequency ripple due to sinusoidal modulation of the
buck-boost converter. The output of the converter is a rectified
sinewave giving the advantage of using only one stage and the
need for a folded cascade H-bridge only. Figure 19 shows
drain source voltage and current of the buck-boost converter
which operates at 10 kHz switching frequency. Figure 20
shows the output voltage of the inverter for an 880 ohm
resistive load and input voltage (PV voltage) of 18V. As
shown in the figure, the shape is sinusoidal and has a small
voltage ripple with minimum filter requirements. Generally, it
is clear that the proposed system has the feature of high dc
gain, small number of components and so low cost, and low
switching loss and so high efficiency. The measured
experimental efficiency was about 85%.

VI. CONCLUSION
A high gain high efficiency dc-ac system was proposed.
The proposed system has advantages of low switching losses,
high efficiency, low cost, small size and simple control. The
proposed system has only one switch operating at high
switching that can catch the maximum power from the PV
module and also connect to the grid at almost unity power
factor.





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Figure 18: Converter output voltage and input current.

Figure 19: converter switch SW1 drain source voltage and current.




Figure 20: inverter output voltage for 880 ohm resistive load and 18V input.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors gratefully thank the ministry of Science,
Egyptian science and technology development funds (STDF
project No 346), for supporting this project.


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