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High-Frequency AC-Link PV Inverter

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4 Author(s)
Amirabadi, M. ; Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX, USA ; Balakrishnan, A. ; Toliyat, H.A. ; Alexander, W.C.

In this paper, a high-frequency ac-link photovoltaic (PV) inverter is proposed. The proposed inverter overcomes most of the problems associated with currently available PV inverters. In this inverter, a single-stage power-conversion unit fulfills all the system requirements, i.e., inverting dc voltage to proper ac, stepping up or down the input voltage, maximum power point tracking, generating low-harmonic ac at the output, and input/output isolation. This inverter is, in fact, a partial resonant ac-link converter in which the link is formed by a parallel inductor/capacitor ( LC) pair having alternating current and voltage. Among the significant merits of the proposed inverter are the zero-voltage turn-on and soft turn-off of the switches which result in negligible switching losses and minimum voltage stress on the switches. Hence, the frequency of the link can be as high as permitted by the switches and the processor. The high frequency of operation makes the proposed inverter very compact. The other significant advantage of the proposed inverter is that no bulky electrolytic capacitor exists at the link. Electrolytic capacitors are cited as the most unreliable component in PV inverters, and they are responsible for most of the inverters' failures, particularly at high temperature. Therefore, substituting dc electrolytic capacitors with ac LC pairs will significantly increase the reliability of PV inverters. A 30-kW prototype was fabricated and tested. The principle of operation and detailed design procedure of the proposed inverter along with the simulation and experimental results are included in this paper. To evaluate the long-term performance of the proposed inverter, three of these inverters were installed at three different commercial facilities in Texas, USA, to support the PV systems. These inverters have been working for several months now.

Published in:

Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:61 ,  Issue: 1 )