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This paper presents a quasi-Z-source inverter (qZSI) that is a new topology derived from the traditional Z-source inverter (ZSI). The qZSI inherits all the advantages of the ZSI, which can realize buck/boost, inversion and power conditioning in a single stage with improved reliability. In addition, the proposed qZSI has the unique advantages of lower component ratings and constant dc current from the source. All of the boost control methods that have been developed for the ZSI can be used by the qZSI. The qZSI features a wide range of voltage gain which is suitable for applications in photovoltaic (PV) systems, due to the fact that the PV cell's output varies widely with temperature and solar irradiation. Theoretical analysis of voltage boost, control methods and a system design guide for the qZSI in PV systems are investigated in this paper. A prototype has been built in the laboratory. Both simulations and experiments are presented to verify the proposed concept and theoretical analysis.