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EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS OF MPPT IN A SMALL SCALE PHOTOVOLTAIC

ENERGY SYSTEM BASED ON EXTREMUM SEEKING CONTROL


Her-Terng Yau and Chen-Han Wu
Department of Electrical Engineering, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Taichung, Taiwan
E-mail: pan1012@ms52.hinet.net; htyau@ncut.edu.tw
ICETI 2012-TCSME_001_SCI
No. 13-CSME-87, E.I.C. Accession 3545

ABSTRACT
This study carried out experimental validation based on the simulation analysis results of Yau and Wu [1],
and compared the MPPT situations of three kinds of extremum seeking control. It was proved that the
sliding mode extremum seeking control has better transient response and steady-state characteristic, and
changes the sunshine intensity to test the performance of algorithm, thus proving that the system can track
the maximum power point rapidly in the environment with rapid atmospheric changes.
Keywords: photovoltaic (PV); extremum seeking control (ESC); sliding mode control.

TUDES EXPRIMENTALES DE MPPT DUN SYSTME NERGTIQUE


PHOTOVOLTAQUE DE PETITE CHELLE BAS SUR LA RECHERCHE
DUN CONTRLE EXTREMUM
RSUM
Dans cette tude on a ralis des validations exprimentales bases sur les rsultats danalyses de simulation,
et on a compar des situations MPPT de trois types de recherche de contrle extremum. Il a t prouv que
la recherche de contrle extremum en mode glissant prsente une meilleure rponse transitoire et un tat
dquilibre caractristique. Les changements dintensit de lensoleillement nous ont permis de tester la
performance de lalgorithme pour prouver ainsi que le systme peut suivre le point de puissance maximale
rapidement dans un environnement comportant des changements atmosphriques rapides.
Mots-cls : photovoltaque ; contrle extremum ; commande en mode glissant.

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1. INTRODUCTION
As the energy consumption around the world increases, green energy becomes a topic of concern with
renewable energy attracting wide attention in energy development, among which solar power, wind power,
hydraulic power, seawater temperature difference, tidal or tidal current power, biomass, and fuel cell are all
key projects.
The photovoltaic power generation system is characterized by a simple structure, easily extended generating capacity, and high reliability, making it extensively used wherever there is sunlight. However, the output
power of photovoltaic module is not a fixed value, it depends on the illumination of sunlight, atmospheric
temperature, solar panel conversion efficiency, and solar angle. In order to use this energy effectively, the
electric power electronics must be combined with a robust and stable controller to allow the photovoltaic
power generation system outputting the maximum power in any atmospheric conditions and solar radiation
change. Previous studies have proposed various methods to overcome these problems [2].
Most of the solar cells do not work at the maximum power point for the nonlinear characteristic of solar
cells, and the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) can be used to solve this problem. At present, the
most used MPPT methods include: (1) perturbation and observation method (P&O), (2) incremental conductance method, (3) gradient method, (4) approximate straight line method, (5) voltage feedback method,
(6) power feedback method, (7) extremum seeking control, (8) sliding mode control method [38].
The SMESC proposed in this study designs the MPPT controller based on the robust control theory so as
to improve the system generating efficiency, system stability and robustness. Therefore, using the ESC in
photovoltaic power generation system can ensure system stability and good robustness under rapidly varying
atmospheric conditions. The ESC has been applied to MPPT of wind power generation at present, but only a
few studies have used ESC in photovoltaic system to track the maximum power point. Since single ESC has
very violent steady-state oscillation when the system is in a steady state, causing power loss, the steady-state
oscillation must be overcome.
Let us take a general view of the aforementioned traditional MPPT methods, based on the theoretical result
proposed in [1]. This sliding mode extremum seeking control algorithm can avoid the defect in traditional
robust controller design that the system dynamic equation must be mastered completely, and can overcome
the defect of traditional MPPT methods without robustness. The experimental results proved the feasibility
of this method and the robustness and stability of system.
2. SYSTEM STRUCTURE
The V-I characteristic curve [1] of solar cell is related to the nonlinear characteristic of solar cell module, as
well as to the ambient temperature and solar illumination. Since the maximum power point varies with the
external environment in practice, the operating point may be anywhere on the characteristic curve, and the
operating point generating the maximum power is the maximum power point. In addition, the short-circuit
current increases with the irradiance intensity.
The short-circuit current decreases with the irradiance intensity because the open-circuit voltage is unlikely to vary greatly with the irradiance intensity. As the ambient temperature influences the open-circuit
voltage of solar cell significantly, the open-circuit voltage of solar cell drops greatly when the temperature
rises, influencing the conversion efficiency. Therefore, it is not used in over-high temperature environment
to avoid the output voltage drop and system power reduction. In sum of the above, in order to attain this
control objective, there must be an additional switched mode power converter between the load and PV
array to implement the MPPT, as shown in Fig. 1, so as to ensure that the solar cell always maintains the
maximum power output to increase the generating efficiency of the system.
This study implemented the MPPT of photovoltaic power generation system based on the extremum
seeking control algorithm. The MPPT was used to impel the solar panel to export maximum power with
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Fig. 1. System structure.

any weather change, temperature and solar radiation. This section briefly describes the system structure
and controller design rule in [1], and designs a boost DC converter to make the output voltage meet the
requirement for voltage in this study.
1. The system structure is shown in Fig. 1, including solar panel, boost DC converter and the controller
proposed by this study.
2. Solar panel: considering the system requirements and solar panel characteristics, the output power of
solar panel is 30 W. The maximum open-circuit voltage of this solar panel is 21.5 V, the maximum
short-circuit current is 1.8A, the voltage at maximum power point is 18 V, and the current at the
maximum power point is 1.71A.
3. Boost DC converter: this converter circuit consists of transistor, diode, inductor and capacitor. The
PWM signal generated by the controller controls the transistor on and off, and completes the MPPT
function.
The maximum power tracking controller uses the dSPACE as the controller. The voltage and current signals
were captured and transferred to the computer. The PWM signal was obtained by the extremum seeking
control designed in this paper to drive the boost DC converter to implement voltage switching. The controller
used in this study was dSPACE DS1104, which is a real-time calculation system based on the calculation
technology of Power PC. The control strategy can be validated by real test immediately after it is designed
using the calculation capacity of DS1104 and built-in input-output channel, Simulink functional equation
base of MATLAB (Real-Time Interface, RTI) and related man-machine interface software for test. The
specifications are: 250 MHz CPU, 64-bit floating-point processor, 32 Mb SDRAM Global memory, 8 Mb
Flash memory, 5 timer interrupts, 5 ADC channels, 8 DAC channels.
3. BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO MPPT CONTROL METHOD
3.1. Extremum Seeking Control (ESC)
Figure 2 shows the extremum seeking control block diagram [1, 9]. This is the simplest method, and the
target is the maximum value in X-Y curve, i.e. the maximum power point of solar P-V curve, when the
present position of balance point is determined by the Gradient Detector. The Switching Element was used
to determine whether the present signal should be changed, and then multiplied by integral gain to obtain a
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Fig. 2. Extremum seeking control block diagram.

Fig. 3. Sinusoidal ESC block diagram.

new voltage. The results were compared with triangular wave to generate PWM signal to control MOSFET.
In [1] the proof of stability is shown.
3.2. Sinusoidal Extremum Seeking Control (SinESC)
Figure 3 presents the sinusoidal ESC block diagram [1, 10]. Sinusoidal ESC was applicable to nonlinear
problem. This method added excitation signal in the above ESC. If there is a micro perturbation in a stable
system, the dynamic state of overall system would be influenced, thus, the disturbing Sinusoidal signal is
added in the systems dynamics. The expected control effect is obtained by using appropriate filter, so as to
search for the maximum power point. This paper attempts to determine the maximum value in P-V curve.
If the nonlinear curve (P-V curve) y = f (x) is an objective function, and has an extreme value, the MPPT
can be implemented by using integrator, filter, multiplier, adder and a sinusoidal oscillator.
The sinusoidal excitation signal is included as shown in Fig. 4. There is micro perturbation at the maximum power point. The micro perturbation depends on the frequencies of sinusoidal signal and filter, but
the two frequencies cannot be higher than the frequency of the overall system. As shown in Fig. 4, when
the slope signal of y = f (x) is negative, and is multiplied by a disturbing sinusoidal signal, the sinusoidal
signal turns to negative. Thus, the operating point is on the right of MPP. When the slope signal of y = f (x)
is positive, and is multiplied by a disturbing sinusoidal signal, the sinusoidal signal turns to positive value,
so the operating point is on the left of MPP. For detailed proofs the reader is referred to [10].
3.3. Sliding Mode Extremum Seeking Control (SMESC)
Figure 5 presents a block diagram of the SMESC [1, 11].The above two methods use the Gradient Detector to
determine whether the signal should be changed; however, a very high switching frequency would resulted.
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Fig. 4. Schematic diagram of sinusoidal excitation signal.

Fig. 5. Sliding mode ESC block diagram.

Fig. 6. Switching element.

There is energy loss, and the components may be damaged. Therefore, the Sliding Mode is used in the
system to avoid an overly high switching frequency causing loss.
A switching function sign( ) is shown in Fig. 6 and defined as

>0
1;
0;
=0
sign( ) =
(1)

1; < 0
According to Yau and Wu [1], if we select the same Lyapunov function V (t) = 2 /2, we can find that
V (t) < 0

(2)

Therefore, the stability of SMESC is proven.


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Fig. 7. Block diagram of traditional extremum seeking control procedure.

Fig. 8. Measured graph of traditional ESC in uniform solar radiation 1000 W/m2 : (a) power waveform, (b) voltage
waveform, (c) current waveform.

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Fig. 9. Measured output power waveform of traditional ESC when irradiation increases from 400 to 1000 W/m2 and
then decreases to 400 W/m2 .

4. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
This study implemented the hardware implementation of three different algorithms based on [1], and tested
the transient response and steady-state characteristic of algorithm and the robustness of algorithm when the
solar radiation changes, in order to prove that the algorithm can track the maximum power point accurately
and rapidly in the case of rapid atmospheric changes. This section introduces the experimental results of the
maximum power tracking in this paper. The block diagram of the process is shown in Fig. 7.
4.1. Experimental Results
After the simulation analysis, based on [1], three different extremum seeking control algorithms are implemented in dSPACE controller respectively. Figures 8ac are measured graphs in uniform solar radiation
1000 W/m2 by traditional ESC. As the traditional ESC has violent oscillation in steady state, the MPPT
effect is not ideal, thus causing considerable power loss. The simulation analysis and measurement results
showed that the excessive steady-state oscillation is the defect in traditional ESC, so there must be a small
disturbance quantity to overcome this problem.
In order to validate the weather change in [1] and to ensure that the algorithm can track the maximum
power point accurately for rapid atmospheric changes, this study proved the stability of algorithm by changing the illumination. Figure 9 shows the measured power waveform of ESC when the irradiation increases
for 400 to 1000 W/m2 and then decreases to 400 W/m2 . As can be seen, the maximum power point can
be tracked accurately when the irradiation has changed. Moreover, the steady-state oscillation of traditional
ESC causes severe power loss, thus, there must be an additional micro disturbing signal to improve its
steady-state characteristic.
Figures 10ac are the measured graphs of SinESC in uniform solar radiation 1000 W/m2 . When a micro disturbance quantity is added in the traditional SinESC, the steady-state oscillation is more ideal than
traditional ESC, and the maximum power point can be tracked accurately. The system efficiency can be
increased, and the system can have stable performance in steady state.
The stability and robustness of SinESC are verified by changing the illumination. Figure 11 shows that
the steady-state oscillation is more ideal than traditional ESC when the irradiation increases from 400 to
1000 W/m2 and then decreases to 400 W/m2 . As can be seen in the photovoltaic power generation system,
the SinESC with additional disturbing signal is more applicable to MPPT than traditional ESC.
The traditional ESC and SinESC use the Gradient Detector for identification, but there will be some high
frequency switching phenomena causing power loss. The original Gradient Detector is changed to sliding
mode control based on SMESC in this paper, so as to avoid high frequency switching causing component
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(a)

(b)

(c)
Fig. 10. Measured graphs of SinESC in uniform solar radiation 1000 W/m2 : (a) power waveform, (b) voltage waveform, (c) current waveform.

losses, and the original sliding surface is replaced by three sliding layers, the chattering phenomenon occurs
as a result. Figures 12ac show the actual patterns in uniform solar radiation 1000 W/m2 based on SMESC,
the performance in steady-state oscillation is more excellent than traditional ESC and SinESC, and the power
loss can be reduced to increase the system efficiency. Figure 13 shows the measured power waveform of
SMESC when the irradiation increases from 400 to 1000 W/m2 , and then decreases to 400 W/m2 . The
steady-state oscillation is more ideal than traditional ESC and SinESC.
After the test, the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) values of three different ESC algorithms in uniform
illumination and when illumination changes can be obtained based on Table 1. The maximum power point
is 30 W when the illumination is 1000 W/m2 , the maximum power point is 15 W when the illumination

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Fig. 11. Measured output power waveform of SinESC when irradiation increases from 400 to 1000 W/m2 and then
decreases to 400 W/m2 .

Table 1. Comparison of RMSE values of various algorithms in


uniform illumination and when illumination changes.
Irradiance
Algorithm 1000 W/m2
1000 W/m2
400 W/m2
2
value
400 W/m
1000 W/m2
2
1000 W/m
400 W/m2
ESC
4.273679 W 4.153322 W 1.850646 W
1.562713 W 3.99554 W
4.188391 W 1.273546 W
SinESC
1.955987 W 1.87441 W
1.494456 W
1.30828 W
1.413136 W
1.363297 W 1.184928 W
SMESC
1.223134 W 1.28549 W
1.443797 W
1.300255 W 1.215399 W
1.133664 W 1.047214 W

Table 2. Steady-state power maximum and minimum of various algorithms.


Irradiance
Algorithm
1000 W/m2 1000 W/m2
400 W/m2
2
value
400 W/m
1000 W/m2
ESC
Max 32.8 W
19.2 W
31.2 W
Min 22 W
13.6 W
22.4 W
SinESC Max 30.8 W
16.4 W
30 W
Min 26.4 W
12.8 W
24.4 W
SMESC Max 30.8 W
16 W
30.8 W
Min 27.6 W
12.6 W
26.6 W

is 400 W/m2 . Table 2 shows the steady-state power maximum and minimum of when the illumination
decreases from 1000 to 400 W/m2 and the steady-state power maximum and minimum of 1000 W/m2
when the illumination increases from 400 to 1000 W/m2 . Although the traditional ESC is easier to be
implemented and simpler among three algorithms, the implementation test found that this algorithm results
in excessive power loss for excessive oscillation in the steady state, so that the system efficiency and the
steady-state response of system are both reduced. When the illumination changes, although the maximum
power point can be tracked, there is violent oscillation in the steady state, so a micro disturbing signal must
be added in traditional ESC, and the steady-state oscillation of the system is less violent. According to the
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Fig. 12. Measured graphs of SMESC in uniform solar radiation 1000 W/m2 : (a) power waveform, (b) voltage waveform, (c) current waveform.

implementation results of SinESC, it overcomes the violent oscillation of traditional ESC in a steady state,
and the rise time is shorter than traditional ESC. In other words, the maximum power point is tracked faster,
and can be tracked accurately when the illumination has changed. Finally, the performance of ESC based
on sliding mode in steady-state oscillation is better than SinESC. The maximum power point can be tracked
rapidly when the solar radiation has changed. Many studies have applied ESC to wind power generation
system, but seldom to photovoltaic power generation system. The SMESC proposed in this paper can be
applied to the MPPT of photovoltaic power generation system.

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Fig. 13. Measured output power waveform of SMESC when irradiation increases from 400 to 1000 W/m2 and then
decreases to 400 W/m2 .

5. CONCLUSIONS
Based on the simulation analysis and discussion of Yau and Wu [1], the MPPT algorithm of photovoltaic
system was tested in this paper. The performance of three kinds of extremum seeking control proposed
from circuit test, when the illumination changes, was implemented based on the ESC. The 30 W solar
module was used to measure the MPPT performance in uniform irradiation and nonuniform irradiation. The
actual measurement results showed that the traditional ESC has violent oscillation in steady state, so the
SinESC algorithm was proposed for improvement. An additional micro disturbance quantity avoided violent
oscillation of the system in the steady state; however, there are still some high frequency switching losses
that would reduce the system efficiency. Thus, the SMESC was proposed for modification. The concept of
sliding surface was converted into three different sliding layers, so as to avoid chattering phenomenon, and
to reduce the system losses resulted from high frequency switching.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank the National Science Council of the Republic of China, Taiwan, for financially supporting this research under contract Nos. NSC 100-2628-E-167-002-MY3 and NSC 101-2622
-E-167-012-CC3.
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