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The design and prototyping of an autonomous photovoltaic power generation system using the Virtual Test Bed software environment is presented. The comprehensive design of the photovoltaic power plant is very important for achieving the best performance, durability and reliability of the system. The goal of the design is to optimise the system performance by accounting for various data available at the design time. These data may include statistical data of weather conditions at particular geographic locations, the statistics of the load profiles and, finally, the projected outlook of the system use. The design of the autonomous photovoltaic power system presented in this work includes establishing physics-based models for components, prototyping system architectures, implementing control algorithms, testing and evaluating the system performance using the actual weather data at a particular geographical location. The dynamic performance of the photovoltaic power system and its components are revealed in great detail through the system-level simulation. This knowledge is used for verification and improvements of the system design in order to achieve the best system power capability, efficiency and size.