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This paper presents a high-reliability single-phase transformerless grid-connected inverter that utilizes superjunction MOSFETs to achieve high efficiency for photovoltaic applications. The proposed converter utilizes two split ac-coupled inductors that operate separately for positive and negative half grid cycles. This eliminates the shoot-through issue that is encountered by traditional voltage source inverters, leading to enhanced system reliability. Dead time is not required at both the high-frequency pulsewidth modulation switching commutation and the grid zero-crossing instants, improving the quality of the output ac-current and increasing the converter efficiency. The split structure of the proposed inverter does not lead itself to the reverse-recovery issues for the main power switches and as such superjunction MOSFETs can be utilized without any reliability or efficiency penalties. Since MOSFETs are utilized in the proposed converter high efficiency can be achieved even at light load operations achieving a high California energy commission (CEC) or European union efficiency of the converter system. It also has the ability to operate at higher switching frequencies while maintaining high efficiency. The higher operating frequencies with high efficiency enables reduced cooling requirements and results in system cost savings by shrinking passive components. With two additional ac-side switches conducting the currents during the freewheeling phases, the photovoltaic array is decoupled from the grid. This reduces the high-frequency common-mode voltage leading to minimized ground loop leakage current. The operation principle, common-mode characteristic and design considerations of the proposed transformerless inverter are illustrated. The total losses of the power semiconductor devices of several existing transformerless inverters which utilize MOSFETs as main switches are evaluated and compared. The experimental results with a 5 kW prototype circuit show 99.0% - EC efficiency and 99.3% peak efficiency with a 20 kHz switching frequency. The high reliability and efficiency of the proposed converter makes it very attractive for single-phase transformerless photovoltaic inverter applications.
Date of Publication: May 2013