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Intelligent PV Module for Grid-Connected PV Systems

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5 Author(s)
Roman, E. ; Energy Unit, ROBOTIKER-TECNALIA Res. Centre, Zamudio ; Alonso, R. ; Ibanez, P. ; Elorduizapatarietxe, S.
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Most issues carried out about building integrated photovoltaic (PV) system performance show average losses of about 20%-25% in electricity production. The causes are varied, e.g., mismatching losses, partial shadows, variations in current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of PV modules due to manufacturing processes, differences in the orientations and inclinations of solar surfaces, and temperature effects. These losses can be decreased by means of suitable electronics. This paper presents the intelligent PV module concept, a low-cost high-efficiency dc-dc converter with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) functions, control, and power line communications (PLC). In addition, this paper analyses the alternatives for the architecture of grid-connected PV systems: centralized, string, and modular topologies. The proposed system, i.e., the intelligent PV module, fits within this last group. Its principles of operation, as well as the topology of boost dc-dc converter, are analyzed. Besides, a comparison of MPPT methods is performed, which shows the best results for the incremental conductance method. Regarding communications, PLC in every PV module and its feasibility for grid-connected PV plants are considered and analyzed in this paper. After developing an intelligent PV module (with dc-dc converter) prototype, its optimal performance has been experimentally confirmed by means of the PV system test platform. This paper describes this powerful tool especially designed to evaluate all kinds of PV systems

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Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 4 )