Power Electronics / Power Management


Testing MPPT for photovoltaic inverters

26 February 2020 Power Electronics / Power Management

Whether or not the depletion of oil resources is a pseudo-proposition, the development of renewable energy and clean energy is a global consensus. China’s photovoltaic (PV) industry, for example, has been hit by EU regulations on anti-dumping duties, but with the substantial growth of domestic PV installed capacity, China’s PV industry is blooming.

By the end of 2016, global PV installed capacity reached up to 305 GW. According to commitments at the Paris Climate Summit, by 2030, carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP are hoped to decrease by 60 to 65% compared to 2005, and non-fossil fuel energy should account for up to 20% of the primary energy consumption. PV as an important non-fossil fuel energy source in the efforts to achieve these overall goals.

The scale of a PV system depends on the load demand and available installation space. Household systems need several kilowatts, whereas commercial and industrial load systems often need tens of kilowatts to several megawatts. At the same time, a distributed system is often built on structures like a roof, making the PV module orientation complex when it comes to shadowed areas. Therefore, string inverter devices are often used to maximise power generation efficiency.

The cost of photovoltaic power generation is higher than that of traditional energy sources, and policies to encourage PV significantly stimulate the development of this industry. In recent years, with PV module and inverter efficiency improvement and cost reduction, the profitability of PV systems has continually increased, and PV generation grid parity is on the agenda, which further stimulates the upgrade and update of the PV system technology.

When the photovoltaic power generation system itself achieves reliable profit, as the pursuit of scale expansion evolves into the pursuit of quality and efficiency, PV can truly get the recognition of the market and usher in the second spring for the photovoltaic industry. After the subsidy era, enterprises must rely on technological progress to reduce cost and improve efficiency, to expand the fields of photovoltaic power applications.

To aid in these pursuits, ITECH’s newly launched high-speed, high-performance photovoltaic/solar simulator power supply, the IT6500C, is equipped with SAS1000 solar array simulation software to accurately simulate the IV curve of a solar cell, with voltages up to 1000 V and power from 1,8 kW to 100 kW, especially suitable for group string inverters and micro-grid system testing needs.

SAS1000 software can simulate the solar panel I-V output under 24-hours different temperature and irradiation and the PV array output under shadow. It can not only be used to test the MPPT (maximum power point tracking) efficiency for PV inverters in a real environment, but can also construct a PV system together with a PV inverter, which supports research and development and testing of smart electric meters, photovoltaic controllers, micro-grid control centres and other equipment.

In MPPT testing, the user can easily set the solar panel material, open circuit voltage, short circuit current, maximum power point and other solar panel parameters. A large quantity of built-in solar panel data from mainstream solar panel manufacturers provides convenience for simulation of solar panel characteristics. Users can also directly import I-V curves up to 4096 points, complete other complex tests and expand the system’s functions.

The IT6500C has a wide voltage and current range, supporting edge time independent setting in various modes. With CC/CV priority selection mode, fast and no overshoot curves can be realised, which also supports OVP, OCP, OPP, reverse protection, etc.

Besides solar panel emulation and MPPT, the IT6500C can also test the inverter MPP voltage range, starting voltage, maximum input voltage, maximum input current, and DC over-voltage overload protection. The end user can also optimise the total efficiency and conversion efficiency of the inverter with the help of the IT9100 power meter.

For more information contact Conical Technologies, +27 82 570 0382, daniel.haywood@conical.co.za, www.conical.co.za


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