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A Novel Maximum Power Point Tracking Method for PV Module

Integrated Converter Using Square Root Functions

Hirotaka Koizumi and Kosuke Kurokawa

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
2-24-16 Naka-cho, Koganei, Tokyo, 184-8588, JAPAN
(koizumih, kurochan)@cc.tuat.ac.jp

Abstract Solar cells have a current-voltage (I-V) char- module, tracks own MPP and feeds dc or ac power de-
acteristic which is aected by the radiation and the temper- pending on the system [1] [2]. When some modules are
ature. To obtain the maximum electricity from solar cells,
the power converters for PV (photovoltaic) modules have a shaded, the others independently continue the operation
function called MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking). at the MPP. AC module, which is composed of one PV
The dc voltage and current are controlled to track the max- module and one interconnected inverter, has been in the
imum power point (MPP) where the PV modules feed the
maximum output power. A module integrated converter
market [2]. The output port is directly connected with the
(MIC) is individually installed behind of a PV module to ac wiring. Even though only one AC module is installed,
seek the MPP. One example is AC module composed of it can be used as a solar power system. In AC module, a
a PV module and a small inverter. In case of AC mod- PV module and a MIC are combined as a product; thus,
ule, the basic characteristic of the PV module is known by
the manufacturer. The domain of MPP can be approxi- basic characteristics of the PV module can be obtained
mately predicted. The proposed MPPT method takes full by the manufacturer. Based on the known data, the dis-
advantage of the known I-V characteristic. The I-V plane is tribution of MPP is approximately predicted. Taking full
divided into two domains by the square root function. One
includes MPPs and the other one doesnt. In the previous
advantage of the known PV module characteristic, the au-
research, we proposed to use linear functions. However, the thors proposed a novel MPPT method for the module-
linear functions with high slope are eective for high radia- integrated converter [3], which divides the I-V plane into
tion, and those with low slope are suitable for low radiation. two domains by a linear function. One domain includes
The square root functions can cover the both. The operat-
ing point can be rapidly approached to the MPP. Around MPP and the other one never includes MPP under the
the MPP, the algorithm is switched to the IncCond method. normal temperature and radiation condition. Identifying
Circuit experiments have been carried out. The measured the domain without MPP, the operating point can rapidly
approaching time to the MPP is reduced from 56.8 % to
85.4 % compared to the IncCond algorithm. The proposed approach the MPP. In the neighborhood of the MPP, the
method can be easily applied to various MPPT algorithms. algorithm is switched to a conventional IncCond method.
The measured approaching time was dramatically reduced.
However, there was a limitation of the linear function; that
I. Introduction is, when the slope is adjusted to MPPs in high radiation
conditions, it is not always eective for low radiations, and
Photovoltaic (PV) system, which is one of the important vice versa. Against the limitation, this paper proposes to
renewable energy sources, has been increasing world wide. use a square root function instead of a linear function. A
Solar cells are semiconductor devices, therefore they have square root function well follows the MPPs from low ra-
a current-voltage (I-V) characteristic which is aected by diation to high radiation condition; i.e. it is eective for
the radiation and the temperature. Most of the photo- wide range of radiation. The range of rapid approach is
voltaic solar energy systems are combined with the power expanded more than that with linear function.
converters in accordance with the application. To obtain
the maximum electricity from the solar cells, the power
converters for PV system have a function called MPPT
(Maximum Power Point Tracking). At the primary side,
the dc voltage and current are controlled to track the op- The proposed method is quite simple so that it can be
erating point where the PV modules feed the maximum easily applied to not only IncCond method but also var-
output power. Usually, the solar power system for residen- ious MPPT algorithms. In case of DSP based controller,
tial use is composed of many modules and a central PV only several additional program lines are required. For
inverter. Each PV module has own characteristic by the the experiment, the proposed algorithm is added into the
condition, therefore the PV modules connected in series IncCond algorithm and installed into a micro controller
and parallel sometimes suppress their output power each which controls the 100 W class inverter. The measured
other and make it dicult for the inverter to seek the max- time taken for the approach from the MPPT starting to
imum power point (MPP). On the other hand, the module the MPP is reduced from 56.8 % to 85.4 % compared to
integrated converter (MIC), which is installed by each PV the one using the IncCond algorithm.

0-7803-9252-3/05/$20.00 2005 IEEE 2511


Rs I
ID
Iph Rsh V

Fig. 1. An equivalent circuit of a solar cell.

II. Maximum Power Point Tracking


An equivalent circuit of a solar cell can be given as Fig.
1, which provides an equation for I-V characteristic of a
solar cell,

I = Iph ID Fig. 2. I V characteristics of the PV module: T = 25 o C, F F


    = 0.7, from the top, radiation = 1.0 kW/m2 with PM AX = 94.0
q(V + Rs I) V + Rs I
= Iph Io exp 1 , (1) W to the bottom, radiation 0.1 kW/m2 with PM AX = 6.86 W,
AkB T Rsh every 0.1 kW/m2 of radiation.

where V (V) is the PV output voltage, I(A) the PV out-


put current, Iph (A) the photocurrent, ID (A) the diode
current, Io (A) the saturation current, A the ideally fac- is to the right of MPP. This algorithm keeps the stabil-
tor, q(C) the electronic charge, kB (JK1 ) Boltzmanns gas ity at the MPP and can follow it against rapidly changing
constant, T (K) the junction temperature, RS () the se- atmospheric conditions [5]. A ow chart of the IncCond
ries resistance, and Rsh () the shunt resistance [4]. Fig. algorithm is shown in Fig. 3 with the exception of the
2 shows simulated I-V characteristics of a PV module un- items enclosed with double line, because the proposed al-
der the condition of T = 25o C, F F = 0.7, from radiation gorithm is added to the IncCond algorithm in this report.
= 0.1 kW/m2 with PM AX = 6.86 W to radiation = 1.0
kW/m2 with PM AX = 94.0 W by 0.1 kW/m2 . The ll
III. Principle of MPPT Methods for MIC
factor F F is dened as F F = IM AX VM AX /Isc Voc , where
IM AX and VM AX are the current and voltage at MPP, As mentioned in the above section, with increasing of ra-
and Isc and Voc are short-circuit current and open-circuit diation, the Isc proportionally increases and the Voc loga-
voltage of the PV module. PM AX means the PV output rithmically increases. Also, the Voc decreases linearly with
power at MPP, which is equal to IM AX VM AX . Substi- an increase in junction temperature T [4]. The MPP is also
tuting V = 0 into (1), the Isc can be obtained, which is moved following the I-V characteristics with radiation and
considered equivalent to the Iph , i.e. proportional to the temperature changing. However, as shown in Fig. 2, the
radiation. Substituting I = 0 into (1), the Voc can be domain where MPP can exist is limited. Under the nor-
obtained, which increases logarithmically with increasing mal conditions of radiation and temperature, the range of
radiation level [4]. The MPP of each I-V characteristic is Isc , Voc , and IM AX , VM AX can be calculated or measured.
shown in Fig. 2. To seek the MPP, various algorithms In case of AC module, the PV module and the MIC are
have been proposed. The Perturb and Observe (P&O) connected one-on-one. Therefore, the manufacturer can
algorithm and Incremental conductance (IncCond) algo- reect the known data of the PV module on the MPPT
rithm are widely used because of the simple structure and algorithm for the MIC. Assuming that the locus of rhom-
the few measured parameters. The P&O algorithm nds bic plots in Fig. 4 shows the right-side limitation of the
the MPP by periodically perturbing the PV output volt- MPP existing area under a climate condition, the right
age V and comparing the PV output power Pn with the side of the locus never includes MPPs. If the operating
previous one Pn1 . The perturbing operation at the MPP point passes through the area quickly, the MIC can seek
and the instability against rapidly changing atmospheric and track the MPP eciently. An idea is to give a function
conditions are problem in the P&O algorithm. The In- which divides the I-V plane into two; thus, one includes
cCond algorithm requires the same measured parameters MPPs and the other never includes MPPs.
to the P&O algorithm and obtains dP/dV using
A. MPPT Method Using Linear Functions
dP d(IV ) dI
= =I +V . (2) In the previous research, we proposed giving a linear
dV dV dV function on I-V plane, which doesnt cross the MPP exist-
Thus, by measuring the incremental and instantaneous PV ing area as shown in Fig 4 (a). Assuming that an operat-
module conductance i.e. dI/dV and I/V , the direction of ing point is presently at (Vn , In ) in Fig 4 (a). The next
the MPP can be known [5]. When dP/dV = 0, the operat- targeted voltage VT n of the operating point is calculated
ing point is at the MPP. If dP/dV > 0, the operating point with the linear function using the measured current In . If
is to the left of MPP. If dP/dV < 0, the operating point Vn > VT n , the operating point is out of the MPP existing

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area. Considering the rapidly changing atmospheric con- Input Vn, In
dition, only when Vn > VT n and dP/dV < 0 are satised, dV = Vn - Vn-1
the VT n is returned to the main algorithm as the targeted dI = In - In-1
voltage Vr following the ow chart shown in Fig. 3. Aim-
VTn = f (In)
ing at the Vr , the MIC increases the output power; and the
operating point moves to (Vn+1 , In+1 ). The next targeted Vn > VTn AND
voltage VT n+1 is calculated with In+1 . The same process yes dI/dV < -In /Vn
is repeated toward the crossing point X of I-V character- no
yes
istic and the linear function. Over the crossing point X, dV = 0
no dI = 0
the targeted voltage is given following the conventional In- yes
dI/dV = -In /Vn no
yes
cCond algorithm. The dierence between VT n and Vn is no dI > 0 yes
yes no
far larger than V , therefore the operating point moves dI/dV > -In /Vn
no
quickly toward the proper direction.
Vr = VTn Vr = Vr + V Vr = Vr - V Vr = Vr - V Vr = Vr + V
B. MPPT Method Using Square Root Functions
Vn-1 = Vn
By using the linear functions, the measured time taken In-1 = In
for the approach to the MPP is reduced compared to the Return
conventional algorithm [3]. However, there is room for im-
provement in case of linear functions; thus, the dierence Fig. 3. Flow chart of the proposed algorithm combined with the
between MPPs in low radiation conditions and a straight IncCond method.
line becomes large when the slope of the line is adjusted to
MPPs in high radiation conditions, and vise versa. To nd
a solution, this paper proposes using square root functions based on the approximation using the 11 coordinates of the
instead of linear functions. A given function shown in Fig. MPPs with the radiation from 0.05 kW/m2 to 1.0 kW/m2 .
4 (b) seems a quadric function but we call it a square root Then, the quadric function is shifted to place the apex on
function because the targeted value is given as a voltage the V axis. At last the inverse function, that is square root
VT n calculating with In . As shown in Fig. 4 (b), the curve function is given and shifted horizontally to keep a margin
of the square root function well follows the distribution of of voltage to prevent touching and crossing the locus of
MPPs from low radiation to high radiation. The square MPPs. For the I-V characteristics with F F = 0.7,
root function expands the range following the proposed 
method, and is expected to be eective for wide range of VT n = (In /0.0256) + 28.55, (3)
radiation.
which is drawn in Fig. 4 (b), and for those with F F =
As shown in Fig. 3, the MPPT method using a linear or
0.8, 
a square root function is so simple that it can be expressed
VT n = (In /0.0662) + 35.0, (4)
by just additional three items enclosed with double line,
which are also easily applied to P&O algorithm or the are respectively given. All the functions are close to the
others [3]. MPP existing domain but never touch nor cross it; the
constant term in each function is chosen to keep that con-
IV. Experimental Conditions dition. The margin between the MPP and each function
The proposed algorithm is installed into an inverter for is experimentally searched to prevent that the operating
the circuit experiments. The inverter, which is composed point falls into the short current position by the error of
of the main board [6] and the controller board [7], is de- sensing.
signed for AC module in a past project. The MPPT func-
tion is based on the IncCond algorithm. The experimental V. Experimental Results
circuit is shown in Fig. 5. The primary side is connected A PV inverter was tested with each algorithm; IncCond,
with the PV module simulator (Kernel); and the secondary linear functions with high slope and low slope, and square
side is connected with AC power source (P-Station, NF root functions, which was installed into a ROM. The ra-
corporation). The load resistance R = 60 , the system diation parameter of the PV module simulator was set
voltage vs = 100 Vrms at 50 Hz. The two types of PV to 1.0 kW/m2 for F F = 0.7 and 0.8 respectively. After
module are performed by the simulator. One has the I-V checking the inverter operation, the PV module simulator
characteristics shown in Fig. 2 with the condition of T = was turned on. The module output voltage V , module
25o C, F F = 0.7, from radiation = 0.1 kW/m2 with PM AX output current I, inverter output current io , and the sys-
= 6.86 W to radiation = 1.0 kW/m2 with PM AX = 94.0 tem voltage vs are observed with the digital scope (DL716
W. For the other one, the following conditions are given; YOKOGAWA). Observed waveforms are shown in Fig. 6
T = 25o C, F F = 0.8, from radiation = 0.1 kW/m2 with to Fig. 9. The measured time taken for the approach from
PM AX = 8.05 W to radiation = 1.0 kW/m2 with PM AX the MPPT starting to the MPP is shown in Table I. The
= 94.5 W. The square root functions are sought using a High slope means the functions V = 0.2I + 36.4 for F F =
quadratic function. The quadratic function is calculated 0.7 and V = 0.13I + 39.35 for F F = 0.8. The Low slope

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high slope is used. After the period, I continues increasing
4 and V decreasing slowly following the IncCond algorithm.
For a comparison, the measured times normalized with
Module output current I [A]
Conventional method Proposed
3 Method
the approaching time with IncCond method are shown in
Table II. These results show that; the linear functions
X
with high slope are eective for high radiation condition,
2 the linear functions with low slope are eective for low
In+1
radiation condition, and proposed square root functions
1 cover the both. The measured time taken for the approach
to the MPP is reduced from 56.8 % to 85.4 % compared
In
to the IncCond algorithm.
0
0 10 20 30 VTn 40 Vn 50 Fig. 6 (a) shows the observed waveforms using the con-
VTn+1 Vn+1
ventional algorithm under the condition of radiation = 1.0
Module output voltage V [V]
kW/m2 and F F = 0.7. The top half shows the long-term
(a) variation, and the bottom half shows the enlarged wave-
forms on the black vertical line shown in the top half. The
4 output current io is observed through a low pass lter of
the DL716 to lter out the noise. At rst at the reset
Module output current I [A]

Conventional method Proposed point, the module output voltage V becomes the Voc level
3 Method
and gradually reduces. The module output current I rises
X
slowly from 0 A toward the IM AX . The arrival to the
2 MPP is measured by comparing with the values of V and
I in steady-state. Fig. 6 (b) shows the observed wave-
In+1
1 forms using the proposed algorithm with the function (3)
under the same PV characteristics. As shown in the up-
In
per half, the V and I are speedily shifted to the MPP and
0
0 10 20 30 VTn 40 Vn 50 keep the point. It took 42 sec to arrive at the MPP, which
VTn+1 Vn+1
means 56.8 % reduction of the approaching time. In this
Module output voltage V [V]
condition, the measured time with linear functions of high
(b) slope and low slope indicate similar results. In the same
conditions, only the radiation was reduced to 0.5 kW/m2
Fig. 4. Transition of the operating point; (a) using a linear
function, and (b) using a square root function.
with the PV module simulator. Observed waveforms are
shown in Fig. 7. As shown in Fig. 7 (b), the program with
the function (3) yields smooth MPPT operation, which re-
I io quires 24 sec for the approach. Compared to the IncCond
method, the approaching time is reduced to 14.6 %, which
vs is similar to the low slope linear function.
V R
Fig. 8 shows the observed waveforms under the sim-
Load AC voltage
resistance source ulated PV characteristic with T = 25o C, F F = 0.8, and
PV module Inverter
simulator PM AX = 94.5 W. As shown in Fig. 8 (a), IncCond method
can bring an operating point to near the MPP, however the
Fig. 5. Experimental circuit.
nal approach requires more seconds. Besides, the pro-
posed algorithm with the function (4) sends the operating
point to the MPP smoothly. It takes 35 sec which is 25.4
means the functions V = 2I + 33 for F F = 0.7 and V = % of the IncCond method. In the same condition, the tests
1.3I + 37.7 for F F = 0.8. The Square root means the with the radiation of 0.5 kW/m2 were also carried out. As
function (3) for F F = 0.7 and the function (4) for F F = shown in Fig. 9 (a), the IncCond method takes 115 sec for
0.8. In [3], the MPPT operation was observed within 100 the approaching to MPP. On the other hand, the proposed
sec, however as shown in Fig. 7 (a), which was observed method reaches the MPP within 17 sec as shown in Fig. 9
when IncCond method was used under the condition of (b). The same approaching time was observed in the test
F F = 0.7 and radiation 0.5 kW/m2 , the approaching time with the low slope linear function.
longer than 100 sec with two-tired approach was observed Against rapid radiation increase and reduction between
in some cases. Therefore, all the tests were started from 0.8 kW/m2 and 0.9 kW/m2 the inverter response were
the beginning and the results are shown in Table I. Inside tested with the conventional programs and the proposed
of brackets means the time for which the MPPT operation ones. The response time is varied but within the same level
was following a given function. For example, as shown in to the conventional algorithm. The IncCond algorithm,
Fig. 10, from the MPPT starting to 19 sec, I rises rapidly which can keep tracking the MPP against rapidly changing
and V decreases; during this period a linear function with atmospheric conditions, mainly controlled the operation

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vs vs

io io
V V
I I

vs vs

io io
V V
I I

(a) (a)

vs vs
io io
V V
I I

vs vs

io io
V V
I I

(b) (b)

Fig. 6. Observed voltage and current waveforms under the Fig. 7. Observed voltage and current waveforms under the
condition of the PV characteristics with F F = 0.7, Radiation condition of the PV characteristics with F F = 0.7, Radiation
= 1.0 kW/m2 ; (a) using the conventional IncCond algorithm, = 0.5 kW/m2 ; (a) using the conventional IncCond algorithm,
and (b)pusing the proposed algorithm with the function of and (b)pusing the proposed algorithm with the function of
VT n = (In /0.0256) + 28.55; vertical: ch1: V , 20 V/div, ch2: VT n = (In /0.0256) + 28.55; vertical: ch1: V , 20 V/div, ch2:
I, 2 A/div, ch3: vs , 100 V/div, ch4: io , 1 A/div, and horizontal: I, 1 A/div, ch3: vs , 100 V/div, ch4: io , 1 A/div, and horizontal:
20 s/div (top), 20 ms/div (bottom). 20 s/div (top), 20 ms/div (bottom).

TABLE I
Measured Time Taken for The Approach from The Tracking TABLE II
Start to The MPP. Measured Time from The Tracking Start to The MPP
Normalized by The Approaching Time with IncCond Method.

High Low Square


F F , Radiation IncCond slope slope root High Low Square
F F , Radiation slope slope root
0.7, 1.0 kW/m2 97 s 43 s 41 s 42 s
0.7, 1.0 kW/m2 44.2% 42.1% 43.2%
0.7, 0.5 kW/m2 165 s 91(19) s 22 s 24 s
0.7, 0.5 kW/m2 55.0(11.4)% 13.4% 14.6%
0.8, 1.0 kW/m2 136 s 36 s 67(38) s 35 s
0.8, 1.0 kW/m2 26.4% 49.2(27.8)% 25.4%
0.8, 0.5 kW/m2 115 s 74(16) s 18 s 17 s
0.8, 0.5 kW/m2 64.1(14.1)% 16.1% 15.1%

around the MPP also in the proposed programs.


85.4 % compared to the IncCond algorithm. Against rapid
VI. Conclusions
radiation reduction from 0.9 kW/m2 to 0.8 kW/m2 the
A novel MPPT method for the module-integrated con- response time is kept about the same to the IncCond al-
verter has been proposed. The proposed method takes full gorithm. The proposed method is quite simple so that it
advantage of the known PV module characteristic. Iden- can be easily applied to not only IncCond method but also
tifying the domain without MPP, the operating point can various MPPT algorithms.
rapidly approach the MPP using a square root function.
In the neighborhood of the MPP, the algorithm is switched
to a conventional IncCond method. Circuit experiments Acknowledgement
have been carried out with the 100 W class inverter us-
ing the proposed algorithm. The measured time taken The rst author would like to thank Mr. Kyungsoo Lee
for the approach to the MPP is reduced from 56.8 % to for helpful discussions.

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vs

io vs
V
I io
V
I
vs

io vs
V
io
I
V
I
(a)

(a)
vs

io vs
V
I io
V
I
vs

io vs
V
io
I
V
I
(b)

Fig. 8. Observed voltage and current waveforms under the (b)


condition of the PV characteristics with F F = 0.8, Radiation
= 1.0 kW/m2 ; (a) using the conventional IncCond algorithm, Fig. 9. Observed voltage and current waveforms under the
and (b)pusing the proposed algorithm with the function of condition of the PV characteristics with F F = 0.8, Radiation
VT n = (In /0.0662) + 35.0; vertical: ch1: V , 20 V/div, ch2: I, = 0.5 kW/m2 ; (a) using the conventional IncCond algorithm,
2 A/div, ch3: vs , 100 V/div, ch4: io , 1 A/div, and horizontal: and (b)pusing the proposed algorithm with the function of
20 s/div (top), 20 ms/div (bottom). VT n = (In /0.0662) + 35.0; vertical: ch1: V , 20 V/div, ch2: I,
1 A/div, ch3: vs , 100 V/div, ch4: io , 1 A/div, and horizontal:
20 s/div (top), 20 ms/div (bottom).

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