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S. Koura, C. Fuentes, M. Perez, and J. Rodriguez
Department of Electronic Engineering
Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria
Valparaio, Chile
Abstract-Large-scale photo voltaic energy conversion systems
(LS-PECS) are currently well into the megawatt range. Therefore
multilevel converters have been proposed as an attractive solution
due to medium voltage operation, higher efciency, power quality,
and possibility to connect PV strings separately to each dc-link.
However, the latter advantage makes the inverter susceptible to
severe voltage unbalances due to the inherent power unbalance
produced by the individual maximum power point tracking
(MPPT) of the PV strings. This is particularly the case of the
cascaded H-bridge inverter (CHB) where power cell and phase
unbalances occur. In this work a new single dc-bus collector bus
bar CHB is proposed for a multistring LS-PECS confguration.
The operation with a single dc-bus is enabled by adding an
isolation dc-de converter stage to each power cell of the CHB.
This allows inherent balanced operation of the CHB while fully
decoupling the multistring PV-system from the grid tie inverter.
This also greatly extends the operating range of the system
compared to previous solutions. Simulation results for a 3.3kV
7-level CHB tested under dynamic conditions are presented and
serve as a preliminary validation of the confguration and control
Photovoltaic energy conversion systems (PECS) are the
fastest growing energy source of the last 5 years [ 1]. Par
ticularly large-scale power plants (> > 10 MW) have now
become a reality, with more than 50 plants over 30 MW
installed capacity, with the largest currently in operation rated
at 214 MW [2]. However, despite the accelerated growth of
large-scale PECS (LS-PECS), the power converter interfaces
commercially available have remained concentrated in two
main types: the centralized confguration with a three-phase
2-level voltage source grid tie inverter [3], and the multistring
confguration with dc-dc converters for each string and a three
phase 2-level voltage source grid tie inverter [4].
The centralized confguration concentrates a great amount of
PV strings (composed of series connected PV modules to reach
the desired voltage), which are paralleled to reach the power
rating of the plant. Hence, the centralized inverter can only
provide a single MPPT for the whole system, reducing energy
generation in case of partial shading, temperature differ
ence and module mismatch [3]. The multistring confguration
overcomes this disadvantage of the centralized topology by
introducing a dc-dc stage (usually a boost converter) between
the PV strings and the PV dc-bus collector bar of the grid
tie inverter. This enables independent MPPT of each string,
increasing energy conversion efciency [5].
In practice, both confgurations operate at low voltage (690
V), which limits the use of a single three-phase 2-level voltage
source inverter up to 0.8MW, with current semiconductor tech
nology. Hence, paralleling or using multiple power converters
is required to cover a multi-megawatt plant. However, using
several converters to share the total power of the plant does
not bring any additional beneft in terms of power quality
and efciency. For this and other reasons multilevel converters
have been proposed for PV applications, most of which are
based on the neutral point clamped (NPC) inverter [6- 12] and
the cascaded H-bridge (CHB) inverter [ 13- 19] topologies.
In [6-11] the NPC multilevel inverter is used to interface
a single PV string per dc-link capacitor of the corresponding
NPC topology. This approach does not need a dc-dc stage like
the multistring topology and efectively doubles the operating
voltage, and enables MPPT of two strings. However, this
solution is not suitable for LS-PECS, since it allows only
two string connections for a commercial three-level NPC (3L
NPC). This severely limits the size of the PV power plant
managed by the multilevel converter. This has been addressed
by using the NPC in a multistring confguration in [ 12], where
the dc-dc stage enables independent MPPT tracking of a great
number of strings and elevates the voltage for the grid tie NPC
inverter to operate at medium voltage.
On the other hand, the CHB multilevel converter has been
continuously reported for PV applications, by exploiting a
feature that is considered a drawback when operating as
inverter in motor drive applications, which is the need of
an isolated dc source for each power cell. However, in PV
systems, the strings naturally provide the isolated dc-sources.
This allows the inclusion of several strings with independent
MPPT and provides inherent voltage elevation due to series
connection of the H-bridges. However, this advantage comes
along with a great drawback, which is the inherent power
imbalance among cells in each converter leg, and consequently
power imbalance among the different phases. This explains
978-1-4673-2421-2/12/$31.00 2012 111 4998
why most of the contributions in the literature are focused in
the single-phase solution [ 13- 18]. In [ 19] the phase unbalance
issue is addressed by introducing a zero sequence in the
reference signals with a feed-forward compensation of the
per-phase unbalance, shifting the neutral of the converter
while keeping balanced line to line voltages, which solves the
problem. Nevertheless, the operating range and performance
can be limited when operating closer to rated conditions, since
the balancing mechanisms are introduced in the modulation
stage, which could enter in over-modulation.
In this work both the per-cell and per-phase power unbal
ance issue in the CHB are eliminated by concentrating the
whole PV generated power in a single dc-bus collector bar.
The isolation required for the proper operation of the CHB
is achieved by introducing an isolated dc-dc conversion stage,
between the dc-bus collector bar and the dc-link capacitor of
each H-bridge cell. The dc-dc converter used in this work is the
fyback converter, mainly due to its simplicity, low cost and its
buck-boost characteristic which allows to extend the operating
range and fexibility of the system. Nevertheless, the concept
of the proposed single dc-bus bar CHB can be implemented
with other isolated dc-dc converters. The analysis to determine
the optimal islated dc-dc stage for this particular confguration
is matter of future work and is not addressed in this paper.
The proposed LS-PECS confguration greatly simplifes the
control of the system since the PV MPPT, dc-power and ac
power control are fully decoupled. In fact, traditional Voltage
Oriented Control (VOC) can be used for the grid tie CHB




inverter to control the grid currents and dc-bus collector bar
voltage without need of any balancing algorithm. This is
possible thanks to the single dc-collector and the inherently
balanced power distribution among cells. In addition, possible
small voltage drifts or unbalances that could occur due to dif
ferences in the capacitors among the cells or due to differences
in initial conditions are easily compensated by the duty cycle
of the intermediate isolation dc-dc converter.
The paper covers the description of proposed LS-PECS
confguration, the different control schemes used for the MPPT
converters, the isolation dc-dc converters, and the grid tie
inverter. Simulation results for a three-cell per phase CHB (7-
level) connected to a 3.3kV medium voltage grid are included.
The proposed large-scale photovoltaic energy conversion
system is shown in Fig. 1. The system is essentially a mul
tistring confguration with several PV strings connected to a
common dc-bus bar through MPPT dc-dc converters, followed
by a centralized grid tie inverter. The MPPT dc-dc converters
decouple the grid tie inverter fom the PV system, and are
controlled independently ensure MPPT of the corresponding
string. Therefore, the PV plant can combine diferent MPPT
dc-dc converters and PV strings, rated at diferent voltages and
power, provided the MPPT dc-dc converter can work at a duty
cycle relating input and output dc voltages. This is possible
since the dc-bus bar voltage is fxed (controlled by the grid
tie inverter). One of the most commonly used MPPT dc-dc
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Fig. 1. Single dc-bus collector bar 7 -level cascaded H-bridge multilevel multi string photovoltaic energy conversion system.
topologies is the boost converter, shown in Fig. 2a, which is
the one considered in this work. In addition, PV modules and
strings can be of diferent type.
The grid tie inverter is a cascaded H-bridge multilevel
converter with a single dc input, in this case the dc-bus
collector bar. In order to enable proper operation of the CHB,
the input to each H-bridge must be an isolated dc-source,
therefore a medium fequency isolation transformer power cell
(isolated dc-dc converter) is inserted between each H-bridge
and common dc-bus bar. Since all the cells are connected to the
same dc-bus bar, the power can be evenly distributed among
the H-bridges. This feature eliminates all power unbalances
produced by individual MPPTs of the strings experienced in
other multilevel converter based PV systems both single- and
three-phase [ 13-15], [ 19]. As a result the operational range of
the system is extended, increasing power output and improving
performance. The dc-dc isolation converter can be selected
among a wide variety of switching mode dc-dc converters. In
this work the fyback converter, shown in Fig. 2b, has been
selected for sake of simplicity, lower cost and simple control.
Nevertheless, other isolation dc-dc converter may be used.
The cascaded H-bridge inverter is commercialized com
monly with three power cells in series per phase to reach 3.3kV
rms line-to-Iine voltage with low voltage IGBT devices (the
six-cell CHB for 6.6kV operation is also commonly found)
[20]. Each H-bridge, shown in Fig. 2c, can generate three
voltage levels ,,,, 0, ,,), where i stands for the phase ,c.
' or ) and j the cell number ( 1, 2 or 3). Considering a 1: 1
turn ratio in the fyback converter stage and a a steady-state
rated duty cycle of D U.O, the H-bridge dc-link voltages can
be considered approximately constant and equal to ,, ^ Vde
('i {c,',}and j {1,2,3}).The output voltage of the H
bridge cell is defned by the binary gating signal combinations
of both legs ,S,,S_), hence four switching states. As defned
in Fig. 2c, the output voltage can be expressed in terms of the
gating signals by ,,
S, S_ ) . Since the H-bridge cells are
connected in series at the ac side, the total converter output
voltage of a phase of the CHB is defned by
i c,', ( 1)
The CHB is traditionally modulated using phase-shifted
PWM (PS-PWM) [20]. This modulation scheme is composed
of individual carrier based unipolar PWM for each H-bridge
cell, with a 60 phase shift among the carriers of all cells
of each phase to produce the characteristic multilevel stepped
waveform [21].The phase shift among carriers varies depend
ing on the number of cells ( l800/k, for a CHB of k cells per
phase). The phase-shift between carries also produces a fre
quency shif of the switching harmonics in the output voltage
to 2kfer, for a k-cell per phase CHB modulated with a carrier
frequency of fer. This improves current THD and power qual
ity, without increasing switching fequency and losses. In fact,
this enables the reduction of the switching fequency without
compromising performance. Usually the carrier fequency, and
Fig. 2. Power circuits of the diferent converter blocks of the proposed
confguration shown in Fig. !.
hence average device switching fequency is around 500Hz
(frst switching harmonics appear around 3kHz, for a 3-cell
per phase CHB). An additional beneft of PS-PWM is the fact
that all cells process same power, and are all simultaneously
used over the whole modulation index range. For these reasons
PS-PWM has been selected in this work.
The fyback converter is basically a buck-boost dc-dc con
verter where the inductor has been replaced by a medium to
high fequency isolation transformer. The purpose of including
an isolation dc-dc stage in the proposed confguration is to
enable a single dc-bus collector bar compared to the solution
in [ 19]. As can be appreciated in Fig. 2b, the fyback converter
has only one active controlled semiconductor. During the ON
state, the fux builds up in the primary of the transformer
while the diode is not conducting producing a reduction in
the output voltage. When the switch is OFF, the stored fux in
the primary produces a current in the secondary winding; the
diode conducts increasing the output voltage. The transformer
turn ratio and the duty cycle determine the output/input voltage
conversion, which in steady state is given by
where D is the fyback duty cycle and NN_ the trans
former primary to secondary winding ratio. This ratio enables
an additional design parameter to adjust the voltage level in
addition to the boost stage and the number of H-bridge cells
in series. This allows the confguration to be very fexible and
adapted to different specifcations.
One of the advantages of the proposed LS-PECS is that the
control system and control goals can be easily divided among
the converters using traditional control schemes without need
of special voltage balance mechanisms and other feedforward
or compensation methods. The following sections describe the
control scheme of each converter stage.
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The main function of the grid tie inverter is to control
active and reactive power, or seen diferently, the grid currents
and the dc-link capacitor voltage. Among the most cononly
used control schemes for grid tie inverters (or active font
end rectifers) is Voltage Oriented Control (VOC) and Direct
Power Control (DPC) [22]. Since the extension of DPC for
multilevel converters is not straight forward, VOC has been
selected. However, CHB converters do not have a single dc
link capacitor, which requires some modifcations to traditional
VOC, as presented in [ 12- 15], [ 19]. In previous works a
fctitious total converter voltage (sum of dc-link voltages), or
equivalently the active power is controlled with VOC, while
the real individual dc-link capacitor voltages are controlled
within the modulation stage. This is the origin of one of the
main limitations of such solutions, since the modulation stage
can enter easily in saturation for large unbalances or when
operating close to rated values (over-modulation).
In the proposed confguration this is not longer an issue,
since all cells are connected to a CLon dc-bus collector bar
processing the total active power of the system. Hence, instead
of controlling the H-bridge dc-link capacitors, the VOC grid
tie inverter loop is used to control the single dc-bus collector
voltage. The corresponding control scheme is shown in Fig. 3.
The VOC scheme, as the name suggests, uses a rotational dq
reference fame transformation oriented with the grid voltage
vector to transform all ac quantities to de values to simplify
control system design. The grid current in the dq frame can
be decomposed into the real part on the d-axis (isd), which
is aligned with the grid voltage vector, hence is proportional
to active power; and the imaginary part on the q-axis (is
perpendicular to the grid voltage vector, hence proportional
to the reactive power. Therefore, the dc-bus collector bar
voltage Vdc is controlled with isd, while reactive power is
controlled with is
, as shown in Fig. 3. The dq currents
are controlled using PI regulators, whose outputs are the dq
reference voltages. These are converted to phase values to be
modulated by the CHB inverter with PS-PWM.
The outer voltage loop is also controlled with a PI regulator,
which outputs the reference d-axis current. The q-axis current
reference can be arbitrarily adjusted. Normaly, i;
is set to
zero, although during voltage dibs the grid operator might
request injecting reactive power to help support the grid, as is
currently the case in wind power plants.
For feedback purposes the three phase currents (ia, ib, i c)
are measured and transformed to dq values. A proper grid
synchronization is required in order to have the dq fame
correctly aligned with the grid voltage vector. In this work
a PLL has been considered, for which the grid phase voltages
are measured.
Note that the VOC loop shown in Fig. 3 includes feed
forward crossed compensation components for decoupling
between the dq current loops. This can explained using the
equivalent space vector circuits in static and rotational fame
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Fig. 3. Voltage oriented control of the 7-level cascaded H-bridge grid tie
Fig. 4. Space vector equivalent circuit of grid tie converter: a) stationary
frame, b) synchronous rotating frame.
shown in Fig. 4a and b respectively.
From Fig. 4b the grid side voltage equation can be obtained:
J (3)
Vs Is s + s
+Jws sIs +vc'
Then, decomposing (3) into the d and q components yields:
Note that Vs
is zero, since the dq frame is aligned with
the voltage space vector v s, hence there is no projection over
the q axis. From (4) and (5) it is clear there is a coupling
between the dq currents. In order to reduce the efects of one
variable over the other, the coupling terms can be feedforward
since the parameters are known and the involved variables are
already measured.
The active and reactive power are given by
' VsIs - -
Note that (7) can be used to compute the q-axis current
reference (i ;
) from the desired reactive power reference Q*,
which is usually zero.
The fact that VOC controls the dc-bus collector bar voltage
and that PS-PWM is used should ideally evenly distribute the
power among the H-bridges of the converter and operate in
balanced conditions. However, since the capacitance of the
dc-links is not exactly the same in reality, and even initial
charge conditions may vary, there could be minor voltage drifts
in the capacitor voltages. However, this is not the case of
the proposed confguration, since the dc-dc isolation converter
stage is located between the dc-bus collector bar and the H
bridge dc-link capacitors. Hence, the dc-dc isolation converter
(in this case fyback) control scheme regulates this minor
diferences and keeps the H-bridges fed with a constant and
isolated dc-source.
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The main function of the dc-dc isolation converter stage
is to provide isolated dc-sources for the eHE. However, the
inclusion of this stage in the system confguration enables the
use of the extra control degree to improve system performance.
The active power regulated by the eHB grid tie inverter
controls the total dc-bus collector bar voltage U,, which is
in turn the input voltage for all the fyback converters. Hence,
each fyback converter can be used to control its corresponding
output voltage, or what is the same, the H-bridge dc-link
This is an important advantage in performance of the
proposed confguration, since there is a double and decoupled
control stage of dc-power, namely the total dc-bus collector
bar voltage achieved by the eHB and the individual dc-link
voltages by the fyback converters. In this way, perturbations
in the dc-bus collector bar voltage produced due to dynamic
changes in MPPT of the PV strings are not passed to the dc
link voltages of the eHB and hence to the ac side, improving
grid-tie inverter performance (mainly power quality). In the
same way, perturbations in the grid voltage and grid harmonics
have reduced efects on U, and the PV-strings MPPT control.
The control scheme for each fyback converter is shown in
Fig. 5. The eHB dc-link voltage error is controlled through
a PI regulator which adjusts directly the duty cycle of the
fyback converter. Since U, is a controlled voltage, it can be
assumed as a fxed value. Hence, in steady state, the input and
output voltage for power cell ij will be related by (2).
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The main function of the boost converters is to perform
the MPPT of the PV strings. A secondary role of the boost
converter is voltage elevation to reduce series connection of
PV modules. The boost converter has only one active switch,
hence two switching states to control the MPP The MPP of a
PV module or PV string can be either tracked by controlling
the PV current or the voltage. In this work the voltage MPPT
is considered. In order to perform voltage MPPT, the total
string voltage, or equivalently the the boost input capacitor
voltage needs to be controlled. However, the boost converter
switching device controls the boost inductor current, therefore
a traditional cascaded voltage and current control loop like the
one shown in Fig. 6 is used. The outer control loop regulates
the capacitor voltage Vst using a PI controller through the


Fig. 5.
|ycackoutput FWV
F1yback isolation converter control scheme.
Fig. 6. PY string MPPT boost converter control scheme.
capacitor current ic. This current can be related with the boost
inductor current reference by
The inductor current is controlled using a PI controller
through the inductor reference voltage . which is then
modulated using PWM adjusting the duty cycle of the boost
Any voltage based MPPT algorithm may be used to generate
the outer loop reference voltage V;t. In this work, the well
known perturb and observe (P&O) algorithm is considered due
to simplicity [23,24]. The string current ist and string voltage
Vst measurements are required to compute the generated power
for the P&O algorithm. The same values are used for feedback
in other parts of the boost control loops. In addition, the boost
inductor current measurement is needed as feedback for the
boost converter control. Note that a necessary condition by
design for the proper operation of the boost converter and to
efectively control of the boost inductor current is U, > Vst.
The output voltage of the boost converter, or equivalently
the dc-bus collector bar voltage U, is regulated by the eHB
grid tie inverter. Hence it can be considered as a fxed voltage
source. The boost converter control system essentially adjusts
the duty cycle to achieve the desired input voltage imposed
by the MPPT algorithm. In steady state, the boost controller
should settle the duty cycle of the boost converter Db fulflling
the following voltage conversion condition
Note that since all PV strings are connected through boost
converters to the common dc-bus collector bar with individual
MPPTs, and because the bus voltage is fxed at U,, the current
injected by each boost will vary accordingly. This is essentially
the basis of the power unbalance problem for other multilevel
based PV systems with several dc-bus collectors [ 12-15], [ 19],
which is not the case of this proposed confguration.
The proposed LS-PECS and control scheme has been
simulated using Matlab/Simulink with PSIM for the control
algorithm and power electronics respectively. A three-phase
7-level CHB with three cells per phase connected to a 3.3kV
grid is considered for simulation results. Each H-bridge dc
link is controlled to IIS0V. The PV module parameters where
set to emulate the SHARP NU-U23SFI PV module rated at
23SW, with approximately 8A and 30V output current and
voltage respectively, obtained for a MPP with a radiation of
and panel temperature of 2SoC.
of the PV modules was changed from 700 to 1000Wm
l 0.5s. Note fom Fig. 7a that due to the increase of injected
power, the dc-bus collector bar voltage increases slightly
until regulated back to its reference by the outer voltage
loop control of the CHB. To compensate for the additional
generated power the control loop increases the d-axis current
component accordingly, as shown in Fig. 7b. This efect can
also be appreciated in the three-phase ac grid currents. A
scaled version of the phase voltage waveform of the grid
Considering the fact that the Flyback converter transformer
ratio used in this work is 1: 1 (this can be further analysed and
optimized) and that the step-up effort is only performed by
the boost converters of each string, a total of 30 PV modules
in series are considered to reach the desired H-bridge dc
link voltage after boosting. As stated before, the size of the
string can be reduced by changing the transformer turn ratio
(this may be necessary depending on the PV module voltage
blocking insulation capability). In addition, to have a more
realistic simulation in terms of power output, 180 strings, each
with individual dc-dc boost stage have been connected to the
common dc-bus collector bar. This makes for S400 modules
rated at a total of 1.26MW. The P&O MPPT algorithm is
performed every Sms, with step changes in the PV string
voltage reference of 10V.
Figure 7 shows the dynamic performance of the grid-tie
inverter control scheme for a step change fom 0.7 to 1 pu
in generated power. To achieve this transient, the irradiation
Line to Line Grid Voltage
Grid Frequency
Rated Power
Rated Current
Input flter inductance
Input flter resistance
H-bridge DC-link capacitance
H-bridge DC-link voltage reference
DC-bus collector bar capacitance
DC-bus collector bar reference voltage
H-bridge device avge. switching freq.
Equivalent output freq. per phase
No. of series connected PV modules per string
No. of PV strings
Boost inductor
Boost PWM carrier frequency
Flyback PWM carrier frequency
Flyback transformer ratio
Open circuit voltage of module
Maximum power pont voltage of module
Short circuit current of module
Maximum power point current of module
Vij *
_ 1. :
'dC .
_ _'_ _
' _
___ __ _ _ " _ _
g 1
`-.`-. _
.D .D .DD .O
IHO s]
3.3 kV
50 Hz
1.2 MW
300 ARMS
2 mH
0.1 mfl
2200 f.F
1150 V
4700 f.F
1150 V
500 Hz
3000 Hz
3 mH
5 kHz
5 kHz
37 V
30 V
8.6 A
7.84 A
Fig. 7. System dynamic response for a step change from 0.7 to 1 pu in generated power: a) dc-bus collector bar voltage, b) grid currents and d-axis current
component isd, c) CHB grid-tie inverter 7-level three-phase voltages, d) grid active P and reactive Q power.
has been added as a dashed waveform to show the proper grid
synchronization achieved by the PLL. The 7-level converter
phase voltages are shown in Fig. 7c. Note that the swell in the
dc-bus collector bar voltage during transient is not transmitted
to the multilevel converter voltage steps and grid currents since
the fyback converter regulates the H-bridge dc-link voltages
in between. This can be appreciated in Fig. 8, where all the
fyback outputs, i.e, the three dc-link voltages of each H-bridge
cell and each phase are depicted, during the same transient
operation. The increase in ripple amplitude of the H-bridge
dc-link voltages is due to the active power increase, hence dc
current increase, which inherently produces higher capacitor
voltage oscillations. Finally, the active and reactive power of
the system are shown in Fig. 7d. The increase fom 0.7 to Ipu
in power can be clearly appreciated. Furthermore, the reactive
power is kept to a constant zero average, even during transient
thanks to the decoupled isd and is
To evaluate the advantage of having the dc-dc fyback stage
in the PV system confguration, a step change in the reference
voltage of the dc-bus collector bar is introduced at l O.4s,
from 1150 to 1400V, as shown in Fig. 9a. The grid-tie inverter
voltage loop control reduces the current during the transient
to stop injecting current to the grid to increase the dc-bus
voltage, as can be seen in Fig. 9b. Note however from Fig.
9c, that the H-bridge dc-link voltages remain controlled around
1150V, since the duty cycle of the fyback converter changes
accordingly, as shown in Fig. 9d. This is possible due to the
fact the Flyback converter can operate as buckboost converter,
buck in this case, reducing the average duty cycle below 0.5.
This result shows how the operating range of the system can
be extended compared to previous proposals with isolated
dc-bus collector bars per H-bridge. The fact that dynamic


E .::

N .::
Fig. 8.
phase C.
:s :ss
|m s}
H-bridge ceUs dc-link voltages: a) of phase U, b) of phase 0, c) of

.. .



. ... .. . . . . .. . .

. . .. .

. .. .
i ]


.. .. .. .. .. . .
:s. :ss :s : : :. :s :
|m sj
Fig. 9. Step change in dcbus bar reference voltage vdc: a) dcbus bar
voltage, b) grid currents and d-axis current component is
d, c) H-bridge cells
dc-link voltages, d) change in duty-cycle of fyback converters.

> ss:
s-: .. ... .. . .. ..

~ s:

: :. : :- :s :s :s. :s
J|m s}
Fig. 10. MPPT of a single PV string and generated power for a step change
in solar irradiation at t 0.5s.
changes and perturbations in the PV system are isolated by
the Flyback converter, and not transferred to H-bridge dc-link
voltages, improves overall performance, since the H-bridge dc
link voltages are kept constant achieving a better grid current
regulation, which in turns is the one controlling the dc-bus
collector bar voltage. Hence, the incorporation of the Flyback
stage not only introduces isolation for the eHB, but adds
robustness and extends the operating range of the system.
For sake of completeness, the dynamic performance of one
of the PV strings is shown in Fig. 10. The P&O algorithm
locks the PV string voltage reference into three voltage levels,
which change to a different set of three voltage levels at l 5s
due MPPT following the change in irradiation, as shown in
Fig. lOa. The increase of the generated power by the string
can be clearly appreciated in Fig. lOb.
A new LS-PECS confguration based on a single dc-bus
multistring CHB grid tie inverter has been proposed. The
main characteristic is the inclusion of a isolation dc-dc stage
between the dc-bus collector bar and the H-bridge cells of
the CHB to enable an inherent balanced power share between
H-bridge cells, facilitating the grid-tie inverter control while
extending the operating range of the system.
The fyback converter has been used due to lower cost and
simplicity, although conceptually any isolated dc-dc converter
can be used. Adding the extra dc-dc stage provides two stages
of dc-power regulation, reducing the effects of PV MPPT
transients on the ac side, and grid side perturbations towards
the MPPT control. This extends the operating range of the
system, before limited by the saturation in the modulation
stage produced by feedforward mechanisms, and increases the
availability, reliability and conversion efciency.
Compared to commercially available 2-level low voltage
centralized or multistring confgurations, the proposed systems
concentrates in a single converter power plants rated up to
several tens of MW [25], with the added beneft of medium
voltage operation (less step-up transformer requirements and
losses), reduced cable and fler size, higher efciency and
improved power quality, among other advantages of multilevel
converters, but without the additional control challenges.
The concept of the isolation dc-dc stage can be used
for other applications of multilevel converter which require
multiple isolated dc-sources, for example single phase CHB
for small to medium scale PV systems, and the NPC-leg
based cascaded H-bridge, recently introduced commercially
for single-phase-low-power PV systems.
The authors gratefully acknowledge fnancial support pro
vided by Fondecyt (no. 11lO783), by Centro Cientifco
Tecnologico de Valparaiso (CCTVal) N FB0821 of Universi
dad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria.
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