Differential power processing for increased energy production and reliability of photovoltaic systems

Pradeep S. Shenoy, Katherine A. Kim, Brian B. Johnson, Philip T Krein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional energy conversion architectures in photovoltaic (PV) systems are often forced to tradeoff conversion efficiency and power production. This paper introduces an energy conversion approach that enables each PV element to operate at its maximum power point (MPP) while processing only a small fraction of the total power produced. This is accomplished by providing only the mismatch in the MPP current of a set of series-connected PV elements. Differential power processing increases overall conversion efficiency and overcomes the challenges associated with unmatchedMPPs (due to partial shading, damage, manufacturing tolerances, etc.). Several differential power processing architectures are analyzed and compared with Monte Carlo simulations. Local control of the differential converters enables distributed protection and monitoring. Reliability analysis shows significantly increased overall system reliability. Simulation and experimental results are included to demonstrate the benefits of this approach at both the panel and subpanel level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2968-2979
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 14 2013


  • Differential power processing
  • Local control
  • Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)
  • Photovoltaic power
  • Renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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