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Advanced Incremental Conductance MPPT

Algorithm with a Variable Step Size

Jae Ho Lee HyunSu Bae and Bo Hyung Cho

Seoul National University

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
#043 San 56-1 Shilim-dong Gwanak-gu
Seoul, Korea

Abstract-This paper proposes an advanced Incremental and compared with the conventional INC MPPT
Conductance MPPT algorithm with a variable step size for algorithm with a fixed step size.
a solar array regulator (SAR) system. This approach adjusts
automatically a step size to the solar array operating point, II. PROPOSED MPPT ALGORITHM
thus improving the MPPT (Maximum Peak Power
Tracking) speed and accuracy compared with the Fig.2 shows the block diagram of the proposed MPPT
conventional method with a fixed step size. For the analysis algorithm. A constant resistance control method [11] is
of stability of the proposed algorithm near the maximum used as the inner loop of the system for the parallel
power point, the small signal modeling is carried out. Also, operation and the stabilization of the parallel connected
it is verified by experiment using a 180W parallel connected SAR system in this paper. It stabilizes the system by the
prototype hardware. transformation of the effective load characteristics seen by
solar array (SA) into the constant resistive load and the
SA operating point is controlled as the MPPT controller
I. INTRODUCTION adjusts the effective resistance (rrej) as a reference value.
A series configured solar array regulator system is A. Basic Idea and Operation Analysis of MPPT
widely used for the Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) Satellites.
The solar array regulator (SAR) processes the solar array The SA has an inherent characteristic as follows:
power to charge the battery and to supply the load power
during the sunlight period. The solar array has an inherent -00< r I r < -1 at Voltage Source
nonlinear characteristic, as shown in Fig. 1 and a rlr,=-1 atMPP (1)
maximum power point delivered exists, which varies with -1 < r l r, < 0 at Current Source
temperature, illumination and aging. Therefore, the
algorithm having an adaptive tracking capability for the where, r = Vsa I'sa instantaneous array resistance
peak power point is necessary to effectively use solar
array power. rs= dvsa disa incremental resistance
Several approaches have been proposed for tracking the If '1' is summed to each side of Eq. (1), it becomes,
MPP [2-10]. Nevertheless, the perturb and observe (P&O)
and incremental conductance (INC) methods are widely
used due to the ease of implementation, although they
have some problems such as the oscillation about MPP
and confusion by rapidly changing atmospheric conditions
[4, 9]. In general, these tracking approaches use a fixed Current Source Region oltage Sour
iteration step size, which is determined by the accuracy t__ ~~~~~~~Region
and tracking speed requirement. However, if the step size
is increased for tracking speed-up, the accuracy is
decreased and vise versa. To solve these problems, an
advanced INC MPPT algorithm with variable step size is
proposed in this paper. The step size varies to the solar
array operating point. As the operating point is far from
the MPP, it increases a step size. Through the variation of
the step size, the accuracy and speed-up are accomplished.
Also, as the variation of a step size is based on the
inherent characteristic of the solar array, it can be easily Solar Array VIICurve
implemented. AX V-P Curve
I Array
Solar -^ - , - - - , l

For the verification of the proposed algorithm, a 180W Solar Array Voltage(V)
prototype SAR system hardware which consists of parallel
connected buck converters using a constant resistance
control algorithm [11] as the inner loop was built, tested Fig. 1 Output Characteristic of Solar Array

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-oo < M<0 at Voltage Source Minimm Limitation
M=O at MPP (2)
1>M>O at Current Source
where, M = I + rIr,.
Therefore, if M is used as a step size directly, the
maximum power point can be tracked solely as a function
of inherent SA characteristic. This algorithm can be
expressed as -3

Maximum Limitation
rref (k + 1) = rref (k) + Mr -4 of slep size

Mr =M ur
(3) Ideal Case|
Real Case
o 10 20 30 40 5o 60 7u so
Solar array voltage [V]
where, rref is a reference value of a constant resistance
control algorithm and ur is unity conversion factor to Fig.3 Variation of step size at the proposed algorithm
resistance domain. Fig. 3 illustrates the variation of a step
size of the proposed algorithm. From Fig. 3, it is clear that current and voltage are detected, which are fed to the
a step size of the proposed algorithm decreases as the MPPT controller. The MPPT controller calculates the step
operating point of the SA approaches the MPP. Therefore, size using Eq. (3) and compares it with the limitation
when the operating point is far from the MPP of the SA, conditions. Finally, the reference value is modified by the
the SA operating point quickly approaches to the MPP. MPPT controller. From the flowchart of Fig. 4, it is
And when it is near the MPP, the step size is decreased observed that the proposed algorithm can be easily
and the operating point of SA is located near the MPP. implemented because it does not require the calculation of
To practically implement the proposed algorithm, the power in comparison with the conventional algorithm.
following two limitations exist. First, as the step size, M, B. Small Signal Modeling of MPPT
approaches -- near the open circuit voltage, the system is
unstable. Therefore, the step size in the voltage source For the stability analysis of the proposed algorithm, the
region of SA has to be limited to a value, Mmax<O. Also, small signal model is carried out near the maximum power
the minimum step size, MAmin, must be defined although it point of the SA. The SA power can be expressed as
is equal to zero at the MPP. Indeed, the step size, M, is follows:
never exactly equal to zero because of noise, measurement
error and quantization of the digital controller. Also, a step Psa = Vsalsa (4)
size that is too small makes the system weak with regard The derivative of Psa with respect to Vsa is as follows:
to the noise and rapidly changed environment conditions,
and in addition the efficiency of MPPT may be decreased
[4]. Psa = 1sa + sa = isaM (5)
Fig. 4 shows the detailed flowchart of the proposed dvsa rs
MPPT algorithm. Firstly, the arbitrary reference value is
set. Then, after the sampling period, T,s the solar array Therefore, Eq. (3) is modified as given by Eq. (6) from


Fig. 2 Block Diagram ofthe Proposed Algorithm


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Va-(R 1
G S(s
rs)s((+s cot )
c(R /-r,)C
Thus, the overall loop gain, TPP , is represented as
given by Eq. (11).

Tpt = -Gvr(S) G't (s)

_ Ip 1 1 z+l (1 1)
2V, s (1+ s co) z2

where VP is the solar array voltage at the MPP.

From the results of [1], for the stability of the systems,
the following boundary conditions have to be satisfied.

IP < (1 o < co, )


2V < Sc (s > Sc )
Fig. 4 Flow Chart of the Proposed MPPT algorithm where co, is the sampling frequency of MPPT.
Eq.s' (3) and (5). In the general case, due to Ip lVP <<1 except for the
SA with the very high current and low voltage, the
stability criteria of Eq. (12) are easily satisfied and the
rref (k + 1) = rref (k) + 1 dpsa (6) proposed algorithm is stable in most cases. Therefore, it is
isa dvsa easily implemented without the consideration of stability.
From the results of [1] and Eq. (6), the small signally
reference value, rref , is updated as follows: III. EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATIONS
The hardware prototype was built as shown in Fig. 2.
The system design parameters used in the experiments is
summarized in Table I. The solar array system was
rrej(k + 1) = Irej(k) + 1 {JK + 1 (Vsa(k) + Vsa(k-1))} composed of two series connected SA's and 30 HID
Lamps, which simulate the sunlight. The SAR consists of
(7) two buck converters connected in parallel. The step size at
where, 'K = 'sa +- the voltage source region of the SA is limited by -3. The
rs minimum step size is 0.5. To compare with the fixed step
size algorithm, the conventional INC algorithm is used
At the MPP, IK = 0. Therefore, Eq. (8) is simplified as with a step size of 0.5. The sampling frequency of MPPT
given by Eq. (8). is set to 100Hz. The solar array voltage and current were

rrej(k + 1) = rrej(k) + { (sa (k) + sa (k-1))} (8)

Transforming Eq. (8) into the frequency domain with

the incorporation of Zero-Order-Hold gives the Eq. (9) [1].
rref 1z+1
va rIsZp
where Ip is the solar array current at the MPPT.
Fig. 5 shows the small signal model block of the
proposed algorithm. Gvr (s) is the transfer function of the
SAR from the reference value, rref to the solar array

voltage, V^a. From [11], the expression is simplified as

follows if the high frequency part is ignored. Fig. 5 Control Bock Diagram of Proposed Algorithm


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measured with 1 OV/div and lA/div, respectively. The time
was measured with 1 sec/div. Fig. 6 and 7 show the MPPT
speed at the voltage source region. The proposed
; Voltage
algorithm tracks the MPP within 0.5sec. The conventional
INC algorithm with fixed step size tracks the MPP in
about 2sec. As expected, it is clear that the proposed
algorithm has the faster tracking speed. In Fig. 8 and 9, the
MPPT speed is shown in the current source region. Like Sol vrAr+ Cur ent
the results of the voltage source region, the tracking speed
of the proposed algorithm is faster. Fig. 10 shows the
tracking result as the illumination level is step-changed.

:S~jar A ayVitg
X Vem

Fig. 8 Proposed Algorithm Tracking Speed at Current Source Region

/Sc lar A4S ay Curtrent

r Arraj Ev7Qa&

Fig. 6 Proposed Algorithm Tracking Speed at voltage source region

Fig. 9 Fixed step size Algorithm Tracking Speed at Current Source

-Arr9y Vol age

t /,cj,arAwjay Cu rrent

Fig. 10 Dynamic Characteristic of the proposed algorithm at step

changed illumination level


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This study is supported by the Korea Aerospace
Research Institute (KARI) and the Research Center for
Energy Conversion and Storage (RCECS).


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