Test & Measurement


Photovoltaic array simulators

14 October 2015 Test & Measurement

Recently dèbuted by Keysight Technologies were two photovoltaic array simulators, the N8937APV and N8957APV, to help engineers develop, verify and maximise the performance of inverter maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms and circuits.

Engineers need to ensure their solar inverters are capable of converting maximum power from the solar array to which they are connected, and developing and verifying the performance of inverter MPPT algorithms and circuits is challenging. MPPT algorithms are complex, and under-the-sun testing with a comprehensive set of temperature and irradiance conditions is difficult, expensive and time consuming.

Engineers can use the N8937APV and N8957APV photovoltaic (PV) array simulators in a laboratory or on a manufacturing line to simulate the output characteristics of a real-world array. They are auto-ranging, single-output, programmable DC power sources that can quickly simulate I-V curve characteristics under different environmental conditions (temperature, irradiance, age, cell technology and more), enabling engineers to quickly and comprehensively test their inverters.

The array simulators provide stable output power, built-in voltage and current measurements and auto-ranging output voltage and current from 500 to 1500 V and 10 to 30 A. The auto-ranging capability makes the units more flexible than traditional rectangular-output power supplies because they expand the power curve to provide more voltage and current combinations.

In addition to using the N8937/57APV units to simulate PV arrays, engineers can use them for other test and measurement tasks. They provide 15 kW programmable DC power for design verification and ATE applications that require just enough performance at an affordable price. Engineers can easily configure multiple units in parallel to create a single power supply that offers more than 90 kW of power.



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