Enhancing Microinverter Energy Capture with Submodule Differential Power Processing

Shibin Qin, Christopher B. Barth, Robert C.N. Pilawa-Podgurski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Differential power processing (DPP) is a power electronics system architecture that configures dc-dc converters in parallel with the PV string to improve its power yield. The parallel nature of the DPP architecture brings a number of benefits, such as low converter power rating and low power losses, all of which make DPP especially suitable for submodule-level maximum power point tracking (MPPT). Meanwhile, microinverters typically perform only module-level MPPT and do not address power losses due to uncompensated submodule mismatch. In this paper, we introduce DPP converters into a microinverter system to improve its energy capture by recovering power losses due to submodule mismatch. The control method to interface DPP converters with a microinverter for submodule MPPT is presented and the tradeoff between tracking accuracy and control overhead is analyzed. A small-footprint DPP converter is designed. A digitally assisted windowed sensing technique is also implemented to address the challenge of precise current sensing. Altogether, the proposed solution seamlessly integrates DPP into the existing microinverter design. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed solution, a hardware prototype has been built and tested with an off-the-shelf commercial microinverter. The improvement in energy capture with DPP converters has been experimentally verified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7177101
Pages (from-to)3575-3585
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2016

Keywords

  • Differential power processing
  • maximum power point trackers
  • micro-inverter
  • photovoltaic
  • power converters
  • power systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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