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Control of Parallel Connected Inverters in Stand-Alone AC Supply Systems

M. C. Chandorkar D. M. Divan R. Adapa

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Electric Power Research Institute
University of Wisconsin-Madison Palo Alto, CA
1415 Johnson Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Abslrucl -A scheme for controlling pnrallei conncctcd

inverters I n a stand-alone AC supply system i s prcsentcd in
method suitable for stand alone operation. The invcrtcr is a
this paper. A key feature of this schcme I s that it uses only VSI with Gate Turn-off thyristor (GTO) switches, and
those variables which can be measured locally at the lnvertcr, operating from a DC power source and feeding into the AC
and docs not need communication of control signals between system through a filter inductor. In a stand-alone system, a
the inverters. This feature i s important I n high reliability filter capacitor is needed to suppress the voltage harmonics of
Uninterruptibie Power Supply (UPS) systems, and i n large
DC power sources conncctcd to an AC distribution system. the inverter. The requirements for controlling such an
Real and reactive power sharing between inverters can be interface are described in the next section. Later sections
achieved b y controlling two independent quantities at the describe the development of an effective control scheme to
inverters- the power angle, and the fundamental inverter meet these requirements, and present simulation results
voltage magnitude.
obtained from the study of a power distribution system with
parallel connected inverters.

As DC to AC power converters feeding power to AC 11. REQUIREMENTS OF THE CONTROL SYSTEM
supply systems become more numerous, the issues relating to The control of inverters used to supply power to an AC
their control need to be addressed in greater detail. Examples system in a distributed environment should be bascd on
of such inverters feeding power to AC supply systems include information available locally at the invertcr. In typical
large, distributed Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) power-systems, large distances between inverters may make
systems and Photovoltaic systcms. In addition, over the past communication of information between inverters impractical.
several years, there has been considerable interest in applying Communication of information may be used to enhance
inverter technology to low voltage DC (LVDC) meshed system performance, but must not be critical for systcm
power transmission systems. The feasibility from the conlrol operation. This essentially implies that inverter control
view-point of an LVDC mesh has been demonstrated in [l]. should be based on terminal quantities.
The transmission system could typically consist of inverters
connected at several points on the LVDC mesh, and providing -Inverter
power to AC systems which could be interconnected as well. Lf
Multiple inverters connected to a common AC system -
Stiff AC
essentially operate in parallel, and need to be controlled in a
manner which ensures stable operation and prevents inverter
overloads. Although inverter topologies used for power
transmission have traditionally been currcnt sourced, in
recent years Voltage Source Inverters (VSI) have been
increasingly used for high power applications like electric
traction and mill drives, photovoltaic power systems and
battery storage systems. Control schemes for VSI's in power Figure 1: Inverter Connected to Stiff AC System
system environments have formed the topic of reccnt work
[2]. Further, with inverter topologies like the Neutral-Point It is well known that stable operation of a power system
Clamped (NPC) inverter [3], it is possible to achieve needs good control of the real power flow (P) and the
substantial harmonic reduction at reasonably low Pulse Width reactive power flow (Q). The P and Q flows in an AC system
Modulation (PWM) switching frequcncics. are decoupled to a good extent [4]. P depends prcdominantly
on the power angle, and Q depends predominantly on the
A stand-alone AC system may be described as one in voltage magnitude. This is illustrated in Figure 2. It is
which the entire AC power is delivered to the system through essential to have good control of the power angle and the
inverters. Thus, there are no synchronous alternators present volhage level by means of the inverter. Control of frequency
in the system which would provide a refcrence for the system dynamically controls the power anglc, and thus thc real
frequency and voltage. All invertcrs in the systcm necd to be power flow. To avoid overloading the inverters, it is
operated to provide a stable frequency and voltage in the important to ensure that changes in load are takcn up by the
prcscnce of arbitrarily varying loads. This paper first inverters in a prcdctcrmincd manner, without
dcvclops a control nicthod for an invcrtcr fccding rcal and communication. This is achicvcd in conventional power
reactive power into a stiff AC system with a defined voltage, systems with multiple generators by introducing a droop in
as shown in Figure 1. This forms the basis of a control the frequency of each generator with the real power P

.o@1991IEEE 1003
delivered by the generator [4]. This permits each generator to
take up changes in total load in a manner determined by its
frequency droop characteristics, and essentially utilizes the
system frequency as a communication link between the 1 2 3 4
generator control systems. The same philosophy is used in
this paper to ensure reasonable distribution of total power
bctween parallel-connected inverters in a stand-alone AC
system. Similarly, a droop in the voltage with reactive power
is used to ensure reactive power sharing.
V Figure 3b: Inverter Switch Positions

I 2
0 Lf

Q= 2 - Y-E- cos6
0 Lf 0 Lf

Figure 2 Real and Reactive Power Flows


The power schematic of Figure 1 shows a single
inverter connected to a stiff AC system through a filter 5 6
inductor. The inverter is assumed to be a six-pulse GTO VSI.
This section details the control of the inverter based on
feedback of quantities measured locally at the inverter. The
real and reactive power fed into the AC system are the two
variables that are controlled by the inverter. Given set points 1 : Invater Voltage Vector I
for the real and reactive power, P* and Q*. the real and
reactive power, P and Q, fed by the inverter into the AC
0: Sector I For Choice of Inverter Voltage Vector
system can be controlled by a method that controls the time- Figure 3a: Inverter Output Voltage Vectors
integral of the inverter output voltage space vector. This
concept has previously been applied extensively to AC motor
drives [5, 61. The entire control of the inverter is performed
in the stationary d-q reference frame, and is essentially vector voltage space vector is called the 'Inverter Flux Vector' for
control. The transformation from the physical a-b-c short. The flux vector does not have the same significance as
reference frame to the stationary d-q-n reference frame is in motor applications. Rather it is a fictitious quantity related
described by the following equations [7]. to the volt-seconds in the filter inductor. The d and q axis
components of the inverter flux vector YV are formally
defined as:

In these equations, the quantity 'fgenerically denotes a
physical quantity, such as a voltage or a current. In the ...(5 )
absence of a neutral connection, the quantity 'fn ' is of no -
interest. For a six-pulse VSI, the inverter output voltage The magnitude of '+'vis:
space vector can take any of seven positions in the plane
specified by the d-q coordinates. These are shown in Figure 3
as the vectors 0 - 6. The time-integral of the inverter output ...(6 )




V, i e.
vb eb
Vc 1 ec

Po & Q*: Set Points for Real & Reactive Power

Figure 4: Inverte~Con~rolScheme
The angle of WV with respect to the q-axis is:
6, =w-l (w-) In this expression, we and WV are the magnitudes of the
vgv ...(7)
AC system and the inverter flux vectors respectively, and S,
The d ann q axis components of the AC system voltage flux is the spatial angle between the two flux vectors. o is the
vector, ye, its magnitude anAangle,are defined in a similar frequency of rotation of the two flux vectors. The expression
for reactive power transfer for Figure 1 can be derived in a
manner. The angle between y v and w e is defined as: similar manner. This is:
$=S, -6e ...(8)
Control of the flux vector has been shown to have ...(12)
good dynamic and steady-state performance [5. 61. It also Equations (11) and (12) indicate that P can be
provides a convenient means to define the power angle, since controlled by controlling 6, , which can be defined as the
the inverter voltage vector switches position in the d-q plane,
while there is no discontinuity in the inverter flux vector. It power angle, and Q can be controlled by controlling y v . The
is useful to develop the power transfer relationships in terms cross-coupling between the control of P and Q is also
of the flux vectors. The basic real power transfer relationship apparent from these equations.
for the system of Figure 1 in the d-q reference frame is: The control system for the inverter is given in Figure
4. The two variables that are controlled directly by the
...(9) inverter are '+'v and S, . The vector y v is controlled so as to
have a specified magnitude and? specified position relative to
In (9). eq and ed are the q and d axis components
respectively of the AC system voltage vector E. Also, iq and the AC system flux vector '4%. This control forms the
innermost control loop, and is very fast. It is noted that both
id are the components of the current vector i. When iq and id the inverter and the AC system voltage space vectors are
are expressed in terms of the fluxes, the equation is expressed obtained by measuring instantaneous voltage values which arc
as: available locally. The set points for the controller are P* and
Q*, and the set points for the innermost control loop, y; and
are derived from these. The actual values of P and Q
calculated from the feedback are compared with the set
Taking into account the spatial relationships bctwecn values. The error drivcs a Proportional-Integral (P-I)
the two flux vectors and assuming the AC system voltage to
be sinusoidal, (10) can be expressed as: regulator, which generates the sct points d
and 6*, for the

innermost control loop. The control of the invertcr to inverter flux vector YV.The locus is sccn to be close to a
generate the specified Vv and 6p is detailed in the next sub- circle, since the magnitude v v very tightly controlled. Figure
section. 6 shows the inverter line-to-line voltage v& and the invcrtcr
line current ia for P* = 1 MW and Q* = 500 kVAR. Figure
A. Control of vvand 6,
7 shows the response of the inverter to step changes in Q*
The control of Vvand 6p forms the first level of and P* successively. It is noted that there is a disturbance in P
when Q* is changed and a disturbance in Q when P* is
control, and directly controls the inverter switching. The
changed. In each case, the P-I regulators modify the set
choice of the inverter switching vector is made on the basis of
values of 6*, and $ to maintain the P and the Q at thc set
the deviations of wv and 6p from the set values Y': and ,
values. Also, the tight control of P and Q within limits is
and the position of the inverter flux vector in the d-q plane. apparent from Figure 7.
given by & If the deviation of 6p from 6*p is more than a
specified limit, a zero switching vector is chosen. If this
deviation is less than a specified limit, or if YVdeviates from
4'6 by more than a specified amount, a switching vector is
chosen which increases 6, and changes yrv in the correct
direction. This is essentially accomplished by hysteresis
comparators for the set values, and then using a look-up table
to choose the correct inverter output voltage vector . The
considerations for developing the look-up table are dealt with
in [5].The choice of inverter switching vector is dictated by
the value of 6v The d-q plane is divided into six sectors for
6~ as shown in Figure 3a, which also shows the inverter
switching vectors. The inverter switch positions for the
vectors are shown in Figure 3b. The value of 6v determines
the choice of two possible inverter switching vectors, apart
from the zero vector. One vector increases the magnitude Vv
and the other decreases it, while both tend to increase 6,.
Thus, to decrease S, , the zero switching vector is chosen. To - ,
L10.O -6.00 -i,oo i 00 6.00 1'0 0
correct the value of vv, one of the two active switching YCP
vectors is chosen depending on the sign of the correction
required. Table-1 gives the choice of active vectors for given Figure. 5 : Invcrter RUXVector
positions of the inverter flux vector, specified by 6v In this
manner, Vv and 6 p are tightly controlled to lie within IV. CONTROL OF INVERTERS IN A STAND-ALONE
specified hysteresis bands by means of inverter switching. SYSTEM
The tip of the inverter flux vector is guided along an almost
The control of a single inverter feeding a stiff AC
circular path. Control of Yv' and S, in this manner results in a system based only on instantaneous mcasurement of terminal
PWM voltage waveform at the inverter output. quantities now forms the basis of the control scheme for
multiple inverters in stand-alone system environments. The
Table-1: Choice of Switchine Vector
essential difference in the control scheme is that in the stand-
alone system, there is no AC side voltage available for
Sector NO. (Location of WV reference. The inverters themselves produce the AC system
voltage, which is fcd back to control the inverters. There is
thus a possibility of controlling the voltage and the frequcncy
of the AC system by inverter control. Figure 8 shows two
inverters feeding into a stand-alone AC system. The invertcrs
are interfaced to the AC systcm through LC filters. The two
inverters are connccted by a tie line, and each invertcr has a
local load. The DC power source rcprescnts a 10 kV DC
(The zero vector is chosen to decrease Ep) power transmission mcsh. The nominal voltage on the AC
systcm is 3.6 kV rms linc-to-line, and the nominal frcqucncy
B . Sitnulalion Results is 60 Hz. Each inverter is a six pulse VSI made up of GTO
Simulation results of the control scheme of Figure 4 switches.
applied to the power system of Figure 1 are presented in As in the single inverter case, the two variables that are
Figures 5.6, and 7. The DC bus voltage is taken to bc 10 kV directly controlled are YVand 6p for each invertcr. Outcr
and the line-to-line voltage of the AC system is taken to be
3.3 kV rms. Figure 5 gives the plot of the locus of the
0 ul





Figure 6 Inverter Voltage and Cunent Waveforms

0 I I
Figure 7: Inverter Real and Reactive Power
control loops are then used to control the magnitude and of the frequency controller is given in Figure 9. The
angular frequency of the AC system voltage vector E. Thhe set frequency setting, a*,is integrated to obtain a reference for
points for the magnitude and angular frequency of E a r e the position &*=of the AC system voltage vector E across the
obtained from the outermost loop, which implements filter capacitor. This is compared with the actual position 6~
specified droop characteristics for the frequency with P and of E. The error is used to drive a P-I regulator, which
magnitude with Q,as mentioned in Section 11. and detailed in produces the setpoint 6*p which is given to the innermost
Section IV. The entire control is thus a three level structure.
control loop described previously. This scheme achievcs a
The innermost control level controls 4' % and 6p , and is the very tight control of the output frequency since the regulator
same as that described in the previous section. The second attempts to control the output voltage vcctor angle at cvcry
level controls the AC side frequency and the voltage at each instant.
inverter, and provides set points 6*p and v': for the innermost *
level. The third level computes the set points for frequency The voltage controller determines the setpoint y v that
and voltage for each inverter. The two outer control levels is needed to attain the specified AC system voltage magnitudc.
are described below. The voltage controller needs to take care of the filtcr
Rai dynamics to determine the exact value of d.
The structure
Inverter 1
of the voltage controller is given in Figure 10. The controller
command input is E*, the specified value of the magnitude of
E. The controller consists of a command feed-forward tcrm
and a voltage magnitude feedback term. The command feed-
forward term is given by
E* [I d Lf c f ]
The command fccd-forward gives the value of d
needed to achieve the spccified E* with an unloadcd filter,
and is intcndcd to speed up the voltage control loop. Thc
voltage magnitude feedback term is used to generate an error
si nal which actuates a P-I controller. The resultant value of
YV is used as a sctpoint for the innermost control loop
described in the previously. The AC system frequency o is
Figure 8: Stand-Alone AC System
computed six times in one cycle. For this purpose, six axes
A. Control of Frequency and Voltage are defined in the d-q plane. The time taken by the vector E
to cross from one axis to the next consecutive axis is used to
The frequency controller determines the sctpoint 6*p compute the frequency. For parallel operation of multiple
that is needed to attain the specified frequency. The structure inverter units, the setpoints O* and E* need to be chosen to
* To
To Controller
K*+% Inverter

From Filter Output
Figuro 9: Frcqucncy Controller for Stand-hlonc Systcm figurc 10: Voltage Conirollcr for Simid-hloncSystcm

ensure the correct P and Q sharing bctwcen the inverters in *

that of gl,% would tend to dfpp lower than O1. Hence, the
response to arbitrary load changes. This has to be done
without communication of the setpoints between the two vector E2 would lag the vector E l , and the power flow in the
inverter systems. The next sub-section describes the tie-line from Inverter 1 to Inverter 2 would increase. Thus,
outermost control loop, which determines the setpoints o* Inverter 1 would take up a larger proportion of the load. It is
possible to define a composite power-frequency curve for all
and E* for each inverter system independently without any the inverters in the system. The composite load curve is
signal communication. This is done on the basis of the real
likewise defined. At the steady-state operating point on the
and reactive power loading of' the inverter systems.
composite load-frequency curve, the total power delivered by
B. Computing a*and E* for parallel operation the inverters matches the power consumed by the loads.
Depending on the stiffness of the composite power-frequency
The outermost loop determines the setpoints for o* curve, the steady-state system frequency will change on
and E* to ensure correct real and reactive power sharing changing loads. The frequency may then be restored to its
between the parallel connected inverters. This action is nominal value by a slowcr outer loop. To restore the
similar to that used in conventional power systems to ensure frequency, the value of Poi , (13) has to be modified for the
the correct load sharing between generators feeding to a inverters. This is equivalent to shifting the power-frcqucncy
common AC system [4]. For the frequency set point, a droop curve vertically up or down.
is defined for the P-o* characteristic of each inverter. The
frequency set point is thus made to decrease with increasing In a similar manner, the sctpoints %* for the AC system
voltages at the inverter systems can be determined from
real power supplied by the inverter. The P-a* droop
drooping reactive power-voltage characteristics (Q-E) for the
characteristic can be described by:
inverters. This droop ensures the desired reactive powcr
4 =O.Q-mipoi -pi) ...(13)
sharing between the inverter systems, and is described by:

In this expression, i = 1 for inverter 1 and i = 2 for ...(17)

inverter 2 (Figure 8). 6% is the nominal operating frequency The scheme described in this paper uses P-Iregulators
of the AC system, and is taken to be 377 radians/second (60
Hz).P a is the power rating of the 'i'th inverter, and Pi is its to determine the set points for 6*, and $ . Howcver, the
actual loading. The slope of the droop characteristic is mi , dynamic performance of the system can bc substantially
and is numerically negative. The values of mi for different improved if an observer structure is used to determine the
inverters determine the relative power sharing between the frequency. The position of the AC system voltage vector can
be determined very accurately at any time. This information
inverters. In typical systems, the P-o*characteristics are can be used to set up a frequency obscrvcr, the output of
stiff, and the frequency change from no load to full load is which would be an estimated frequency. The time-integral of
extremely small. If the slopes mi for different inverters are the estimated frcquency can be compared to the actual
chosen such that position of the voltage vector, and the estimated frequency
ml Pol =m2P02 = ... =mnPOn ...(14)
can be modified accordingly. Feedback of the observer states
results in a system with very good dynamic response and
then for a total power P, the load distribution between the disturbance rejection properties.
inverters satisfies the relationships: The control system dcscribcd above has bccn applicd to
ml P1 =m2P2 = ... =mnPn ...(15) the stand-alone system of Figure 8. The results of simulation
studies are presented below.
Pi +P2 + ...+Pn= F ...(16) C . Simulation Results
By choosing the slopes according to (14), it can be For the simulation studies, the droops of the two
ensured that load changes are taken up by the inverters in inverter systems are characterized by the following
proportion to their power ratings. The power sharing parameters:
mechanism can be best understood by considering the two
inverter system shown in Figure 8. An increase in power Pol = 0.75 MW P02= 0.6 MW
drawn by the load near Inverter 2 results in increased power m l = -1.4 x 10-5 m2 = -1.75 x 10-5
from both inverters. If the magnitude of m2 is larger than
0 0
0 lrl

0 0
0 In

' 1
Figure 11: Inverter Real and Reaaive Power (Stand-Alone System) I

Q o l = 0.2MVAR Q02 = 0.1 MVAR presented indicate that the scheme effectively achieves the
n i =-1.0 x 10-4 n2 =-2.0 x 10-4 goals of power sharing in the presence of arbitrarily
changing loads. Active damping in the loop formed by the
The nominal voltage is 3.6 kV rms line-to-line and the filter capacitors and the tie line, and the use of a frcqucncy
nominal frequency is 60 Hz. The filter components for the observer would enhance the performance further. Thcse
two invcrter systems are identical. Figure 11 shows the form the goals of a later paper.
rcsponse of the inverters when the resistance RE2 (Figure 8)
is decreased suddenly to half its value. Figure 11 shows the
rcal and reactive powers supplicd by the two invericr systems VI. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
to the load. Figure 11 shows that Inverter 1 carries a larger
share of the real power, since it has a stiffer slope. Figure 12 This project is currcntly funded by grant #8818339 of
shows the line-to-line voltage across the filter capacitor of the National Science Foundation and Agreement RP79 11-12 of
Inverter 1. The plot for the reactive powers in Figure 11 the Electric Power Research Institute.
shows oscillations. These oscillations occur in the absence of
active damping of the loop formed by the two filter
capacitors and the tie-line inductance. VU. REFERENCES
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Source Converter in High Power Applications", To be presented at the
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Inverter", IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. IA-17, pp. 518-523. Sept/Oct
[4] A. R. Uergcn, "Power System Analysis". Prcntice-IId, Inc., 1986.
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[7] T. A. Lipo, "Analysis of Synchronous Machines", Course Notes,
This paper has dcscribcd a method to effectively Univcrsity of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990.
control inverters in a stand-alone AC supply system, without
any form of signal communication. The simulation results