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Design and Analysis of A Practical Three-phase Grid-connected Photovoltaic Inverter

Jianguo Wang, Feng Wang, Zhenke Pan, Zhipeng Li, Feng Xue Changshu Switchgear Mfg.Co.,Ltd (Former Changeshu Switchgear Plant) E-mail: hgwangjianguo@sina.com
Abstract This paper has provided a practical design architecture of three-phase grid-connected photovoltaic power generation inverter, converting direct current from photovoltaic array to alternating current whose phase and amplitude are the same as the grid. Furthermore, the schemes are described separately from the hardware design, software design and protect-function design. Additionally, based on traditional arithmetic of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and island detection, the developed solutions are introduced. In sum, the feasibility of this plan has been demonstrated, through trial and certification of related certification authority.

When considering only the three-phase equilibrium system, equation 2 can be yielded from the three-phase stationary abc coordinates - vertical two-phase stationary coordinate system - synchronous rotating dq axis conversion [2].

0 U idq Eqd = L 0

0 dI qd I qd + L dt + I qd R 0



The frequency domain mathematical model [2] of the system in synchronous dq coordinate system rotating is built by Laplace transform of Equation 2.

The use of photovoltaic array is one of the main ways of solar power employment nowadays. Photovoltaic array turns sunshine into DC electricity power, and then the direct current will be switched into alternating current by an inverter. Photovoltaic inverter can be divided into such categories according to the relationships with power system: freestanding photovoltaic inverter and grid-connected photovoltaic inverter (grid-connected inverter). It has been researched for many years, but some problems such as maximum power point tracking, island detection have yet to be deeply studied. THREE-PHASE GRID-CONNECTED INVERTER DESIGN

Uq (s) Eq (s) L0Id (s) = (sL + R)Iq (s) Ud (s) Ed (s) + L0Iq (s) = (sL + R)Id (s)


The model structure [2] is shown in Fig. 2 corresponding to equations (3). It can be seen from Fig. 2 that variables coupled in mathematic model based on d-q coordinate can be decoupled by feed-forward decoupling control strategy in the three phase grid-connected inverter.


A. Three-Phase Grid-connected Inverter Mathematical Model Main circuit of the three-phase grid-connected inverter involves the DC-link capacitor, the bridge, the AC filter inductor and some other components, its topology is shown in Fig. 1. Voltage equation [2] can be built from the topology in Fig. 1 based on the three-phase stationary abc coordinates:

Fig.2. System model in synchronous coordinate

U abc Eabc
i dc ii

dI = I abc R + L abc dt




ea eb ec

B. Hardware Design 1) Design of DC link capacitor DC link capacitor design consists of the following points: a) DC voltage should quickly reach steady-state value as soon as the charging is completed. b) Reducing the DC voltage fluctuations as load changes to meet the immunity indicator. c) To meet the DC voltage ripple requirements. 2) Selection of the power switch Both voltage and current requirements on the switch should be checked [3] [7]:

Fig.1. Three-phase grid-connected inverter topology

a) Voltage rating of the power switch should meet with the peak voltage requirement when switch turns off, U (U DC max 1.15 + 150) Where UDCmax is the maximum operating bus voltage, 1.15 is over-voltage protection coefficient, is the safety factor, commonly used 1.1. b) Current rating of the power switch should meet the maximum output current, I I max 1.5 2 Where I max is the maximum output AC current for the power switch and 1.5 is the overload capability. 3) AC inductor design [1] AC filter inductor's primary role is to damp the harmonic current in AC side. Inductance affects the rate of current change. The smaller the inductor L is, the faster the inverter output current changes, greater L makes slower change, so the actual rate of current change should be larger than the rate of change of the given current signal, which is

dis dis* , so > dt dt


L < min(

U dc U m sin t ) I m cos t

U dc is the inverter DC link voltage , U m is the amplitude of grid side voltage , I m is the amplitude of the output current
for the device. Taking into account that the small inductance L will lead to large current fluctuation, which will increase the output harmonic, so

C. Software Design 1) Three-phase grid-connected inverter control strategy design Grid-connected inverter plays the role of energy conversion device between the grid and photovoltaic arrays, the control system must be capable of regulating the maximum output power points of photovoltaic array and controlling the inverter output current to make output current phase and frequency the same with the grid voltage. Voltage oriented control [2] (VOC) is employed, as shown in Fig. 3. DC voltage control system consists of outer voltage loop and inner current loop. Outer loop is to stabilize or regulate the DC voltage, which can be achieved by DC voltage feedback and the introduction of a PI regulator. Current inner loop is implemented in the dq frame control, that is the inverter output current value ia, ib and ic transform into a direct current id and iq in synchronous rotating dq coordinate system, through Clark and Park transformations. Compared with its inner current reference value id* and iq*, control of id and iq were achieved through the corresponding PI regulator. Output signal from Inner PI current regulator through the inverse Park transformation yields to switch signals Sa, Sb and Sc, which realizes the inverter control.


Where, t is the control period for each cycle, i is the maximum allowable current fluctuation in the period. Range of the inductance L can be derived from (4) and (5):

U dc + U m i / t


Fig. 3. Voltage oriented control

U U m sin t U dc + U m < L < min( dc ) I m cos t i / t


4) Transformer design To prevent the failure of each party affecting the whole system, photovoltaic system and power system are isolated by transformer. The primary voltage should be fixed according to the minimum DC input, which satisfies


Where U1 The transformer primary voltage, U MPPT is the inverter maximum power point tracking (MPPT) minimum voltage, M is the maximum inverter modulation ratio, and B is the design margin. The connection of transformer input and output windings can inhibit multiple of 3 and 3 harmonics [4] [6], and the output inductor can be integrated into this transformers to reduce the size and weight [4].

U MPPT M B 1.414


2) MPPT control design In order to improve the utilization of photovoltaic cells, get higher power generation efficiency, the function of maximum power point tracking for photovoltaic cells should be added. There are many MPPT methods, such as constant voltage control method, the disturbance observation (hill climbing), increased conductance, three-point comparison, fuzzy control method [1] [5], and these algorithms have their own different effects and different strengths and weaknesses [1] [5]: a) Constant voltage control method detects less parameters, the hardware requirements of the circuit is relatively low, but it leads to poor control effect. b) Control strategy of disturbance observation is simple, the control effect is better, but there is power oscillation phenomenon near the maximum power point, it cannot be stabilized at maximum power point, and if the sunshine dramatically changes, it would cause misjudgment. c) Increase conductance has the best control effect, but requires more in the system hardware design. d) Three-point comparison can quickly and accurately track the maximum power point; and can avoid false judgment and maximum power point oscillation in climbing method. When the light intensity is mutated, it will not blindly change

the operating point, it will wait for sunlight to be stable, then follow; but relatively complex algorithms call for large amounts of data processing, require a higher level of hardware performance. Based on analysis and comparison of the existing MPPT algorithms, this paper presented an improved disturbance observation method. It comes from three-point comparison and the disturbance observation (hill climbing), making full use of the advantages of the two algorithms , overcoming the shortcomings. In the actual inverter system applications, tracking accuracy can reach more than 99%, which is very good tracking performance. Fig.4 shows the Improved MPPT algorithm flow chart. Improved MPPT algorithm has the following characteristics: a) Three-point comparison method is used for coarsely adjusting, which accelerates to track the maximum power point vicinity region; b) Fine adjusting in the maximum power point vicinity region improves the tracking accuracy; c) The step length is decided by the rate of change of power disturbances, which can accurately track the maximum power point. when weather suddenly changes ,it will track the maximum power point again, which ensures that the inverter always works at the maximum power point. d) Power oscillations in the vicinity of maximum power point can be avoided: once the system reaches the maximum power point after fine-adjusting, it will not be disturbed, and keep the system stable at the maximum power point. When the external environment changes, the system tracks again. e) Fixed disturbance period, tracking the maximum power point in real time.
Vdc and Idc detection of PV output

3) Island protection Nowadays, there are many methods of island detection, mainly divided into two types: passive detecting and active detecting. In this paper, the active detection called positive feedback of frequency offset is combined with passive detection method. Positive feedback of frequency offset is based on changing the output current phase. Phase and frequency changes in positive feedback mode at the loss of grid voltage, resulting in system output suffer a significant change in frequency, which is used to detect the island state. In order to minimize the THD of inverter output current, the active offset should be minimized, only to meet the reliability of island detection. The relationship of inverter output current phase angle versus frequency is = k f 3 . Where f is the deviation between common point frequency and grid frequency; k is the feedback coefficient (0.5 in this paper). Measurement error and fluctuations in grid frequency itself will make f 0 in normal state. The larger f , the normal

island detection algorithm produced the greater phase angle , result in worse waveform distortion. The frequency deviation f is small by using the algorithm presented; the phase angle disturbance is reduced, so the waveform distortion is greatly improved. And because the frequency deviation is introduced by the current positive feedback loop, positive feedback effect will continue to push the frequency away from the normal range at the off grid state, so that it can reliably detect the island. Work flow chart shown in Fig. 5.

Sample the load side voltage

Pdc caculation


Vdc==Vdcset or MPPT timing? Yes 3 point comparison caculation sign of d V d c d P , P

PLL t o lock t he frequency and phase of the grid

Caculate the peak value of phase Vp

Near the Max. power point area? Yes Caculation fine tune disturbance Vst = k Vst ( k 1)


= k f 3 t = t +

0.8 1.2 Vp


49.5 50.5 f

No Island protection


Caculation coarse tune disturbance Vst = ( P-100)/100+1


In the vicinity of Max.power point Yes


Fig. 5. Flow chart of the island protection


d V d c d P 0?
Yes Vdc_ref - =Vst

Vdc_ref +=Vst


On after N tims fine tune Yes Select the Max.power point as the Pmax

Vdcset = Vdc_ref Iset = MPPT _out update last two Vdc Idc


D. Protection Design There will be a fault state in the Grid-connected inverter practical application, which will cause the inverter itself or external damage to the equipment, such as the PV array DC power output is greater than the inverter input power, DC input polarity reversed, the AC power grid over/under voltage, over/under frequency, inverter overheating and so on. Consequently, it is necessary to design corresponding protection according to different abnormal conditions, such as

Fig. 4. MPPT flow chart

DC overload protection, DC reverse polarity protection, over /under voltage protection, over/under-frequency protection, inverter overheating protection. All these protections will improve the inverter works reliability and stability.


According to the design rules above, 10kW, 30kW and 50kW three-phase grid-connected inverters were designed. After building up prototype samples, testing, and the final shape of the inverter, using Hioki powermetre, Hioki digital recorder, TOPCON programmable DC power supply, an island test devices to verify the control function, output power quality, protection, reliability, security and other aspects of the inverters. A. MPPT Testing Data Data in Table 1 shows the maximum power point tracking using three point comparisons combined with adjustable step climbing. Three load types were tested, which are full power, 50% of full power output and 30 % of full power output. The accuracy can reach 99% which can read from Table 1, and the inverter can quickly track the maximum power point while the light intensity sharply changes .
Table 1 DATA OF MPPT Data from curves simulating Input data of inverter with MPPT photovoltaic array Max. output powerkW 16 27 52 Voltage on max. power output point (V) 700 700 450 Input DC voltage of inverter (V) 698 703 447 Input power of inverter (kW) 52 26.9 16

Fig.6. Waveform of output current

Fig.7. Harmonics of the output current

C. Island Protection Fig. 8 is a waveform of island protection using positive feedback of frequency offset combined with passive detection, 1-1 shows the current waveform into the grid, 1-2 shows the waveform of the inverter output current. After the event of island phenomenon continued for 124ms, the inverter stops output.

B. Quality of Output Power Output current waveform of the same phase and frequency with grid voltage was shown in Fig. 6 at the output power of 50kW. Channel 1-1 samples the power grid voltage (100V/div), channel 2-1 samples the output current waveform (100A/div). It shows that the phase and frequency of inverter output current synchronized with the grid voltage which makes the power factor closed to 1. Fig. 7 shows output current harmonic data of one phase at the output power 50kW, the total harmonic output was 0.94%, the magnitude of harmonics are all less than 1%, the output DC component is less than 0.5%. In sum, it meets relevant national standards.

Fig.8. Waveform of island protection



The CS1G series three-phase grid-connected inverters have been certified by related certification authority, such as CQC, based on the above design procedure, and run well in certain domestic projects. All the practical application verified the feasibility of the design.

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