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New residential scale photovoltaic (PV) arrays are commonly connected to the grid by a single DC-AC inverter connected to a series string of PV modules, or many small DC-AC inverters which connect one or two modules directly to the AC grid. This paper shows that a "converter-per-module" approach offers many advantages including individual module maximum power point tracking, which gives great flexibility in module layout, replacement, and insensitivity to shading; better protection of PV sources, and redundancy in the case of source or converter failure; easier and safer installation and maintenance; and better data gathering. Simple nonisolated per-module DC-DC converters can be series connected to create a high voltage string connected to a simplified DC-AC inverter. These advantages are available without the cost or efficiency penalties of individual DC-AC grid connected inverters. Buck, boost, buck-boost and Cuk converters are possible cascadable converters. The boost converter is best if a significant step up is required, such as with a short string of 12 PV modules. A string of buck converters requires many more modules, but can always deliver any combination of module power. The buck converter is the most efficient topology for a given cost. While flexible in voltage ranges, buck-boost and Cuk converters are always at an efficiency or alternatively cost disadvantage.
Power Electronics Specialists Conference, 2002. pesc 02. 2002 IEEE 33rd Annual (Volume:1 )
Date of Conference: 2002