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grid connected PV inverters under diﬀerent operating conditions

Yang Du a,⇑, Dylan Dah-Chuan Lu a, Geoﬀrey James b, David J. Cornforth c

a

School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, Australia

b

Division of Energy Technology, Commonwealth Scientiﬁc and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sydney, Australia

c

School of Design, Communication and IT, University of Newcastle, Australia

Received 17 November 2012; received in revised form 10 April 2013; accepted 13 May 2013

Available online 8 June 2013

Abstract

Due to the fast growth of photovoltaic (PV) installations, concerns are rising about the harmonic distortion generated from PV invert-

ers. High current total harmonic distortion (THD) occurs when PV inverters operate under light load conditions due to low solar inso-

lation. A general model modiﬁed from the conventional control structure diagram is introduced to analyze the harmonic formation

process. Causes of the current harmonics are summarized and its relationship with output power levels is analyzed. The ﬁeld measure-

ment for current harmonics is carried out at the Commonwealth Scientiﬁc and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) microgrid to

validate the analysis results. In particular for two-stage inverter, unlike previous papers that assume the DC-link voltage is constant, the

DC-link voltage ripple is identiﬁed as the source of a series of odd harmonics. A mew periodic time-varying model is proposed by includ-

ing the DC-link voltage ripple into the conventional current control loop model. This model is able to simulate the characteristics of the

harmonic components and show their dependence on the DC-link voltage ripple.

Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

ation from renewable energy by 2020 (Clean_energy_coun-

In several countries including Australia, an increasing cil, 2009).

number of PV generation systems are connected to the dis- The power electronics interface is essential to connecting

tribution network as a result of strong government sup- renewable energy sources to the grid. This interface has two

port. The PV market is growing rapidly (30–40%), and its main functions: extracting the maximum amount of power

price is constantly decreasing (Razykov et al., 2011). Many from the PV modules (Du and Lu, 2011; Bennett et al.,

countries are trying to increase the penetration of renew- 2012); and conversion of direct current (DC) power to an

able energy. The US plans to meet up to 20% of electricity appropriate form of alternative current (AC) power for

demand with solar technologies by 2030 (Brinkman et al., the grid connection (Beser et al., 2010). Renewable energy

sources such as solar energy cannot be manipulated in the

same way as conventional power sources, so the operating

conditions of PV inverters vary according to the solar inso-

⇑ Corresponding author. Address: School of Electrical and Information lation (Lu and Nguyen, 2012). However, utility standards

Engineering, The University of Sydney, Room 329, Bldg. J03, NSW 2006, and manufactures’ data sheets are only concerned with

Australia. Tel.: +61 0401538737.

the full load condition.

E-mail address: yang.du@sydney.edu.au (Y. Du).

0038-092X/$ - see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2013.05.010

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 183

PV systems incorporate power electronic interfaces, lute amplitude of the harmonic component changes are rel-

which generate a level of harmonics (Papaioannou et al., atively small compared with THD changes. This solves the

2009), potentially leading to current and voltage distor- confusion about the high THD concerns under low power

tions. The harmonics of current or voltage waveform are levels. More detailed discussion is given in Section 4. The

the summation of various higher frequency sinusoidal com- analysis results in Section 3 are validated by comparison

ponents that are an integer multiple of the fundamental fre- with measurement from actual PV inverters.

quency. These harmonics have a large impact on A series of odd harmonics are fund which cannot be

operational eﬃciency and reliability of the power system, completely explained by the factors usually examined in

loads and protective relaying (Jain and Singh, 2011). Due such cases. The DC-link voltage ripple is identiﬁed to be

to the fast growth of PV installations, concerns are rising the causes of these harmonics, a time-varying model is pro-

about harmonic distortion introduced by PV inverters to posed in Section 5 to analyze this phenomenon.

the grid. To analyze and design the PV inverter, the DC-link volt-

The degree of current THD, as a percentage of the fun- age is assumed as constant in the conventional model of a

damental current, varies signiﬁcantly with the real power PV inverter. However, this is not always the case. For sin-

output of the inverter (Chicco et al., 2009). The current gle-phase grid connected inverters, the AC instantaneous

THD becomes higher at a low power output level, espe- output power exhibits a pulsation at the double-line fre-

cially for generated power below 20% of the rated power, quency. Under steady insolation conditions, the DC output

such as during morning or evening time. Many researchers voltage of the PV modules is controlled to be constant at

have reported this phenomenon and tried to ﬁnd the the maximum power point (MPP). Hence, the power pulsa-

causes. The quantisation and resolution eﬀects of the mea- tion caused by single-phase power generation is converted

surement devices in the control system has been pointed into the static stored energy on the decoupling capacitor,

out as one of the causes (Inﬁeld et al., 2004). Another and voltage ripple at the double-line frequency can be

explanation is that the closed-loop current controls, which found at the DC-link (Shimizu et al., 2006). By using large

are intended to minimize the harmonic components, stop electrolytic capacitors, the ripple can be reduced but not

working at a low power output level (Chicco et al., eliminated. However, the electrolytic parts have far more

2009). Some researchers have suggested that the DC-link limited life than the applications (Lahyani et al., 1998),

voltage regulation is highly related to the reference current and need to be avoided.

resolution (Wu et al., 2011). However, the comprehensive In a single-stage inverter as shown in Fig. 1a, a large

and systematic analysis of the formation process of the har- power decoupling capacitor has to be used to realize an eﬃ-

monics in the PV inverter output current is missing. cient MPPT process. Hence, the constant DC-link voltage

The conventional model of current control structure assumption can be adapted for modeling the inverter, and

(Twining and Holmes, 2003) is widely used to design the this model is linear. However, the two-stage inverter as

control loop and to analyze the control stability. However, shown in Fig. 1b, the power decoupling capacitor is placed

there is no harmonic information included in this model, at the high voltage DC-link. In this topology, a larger volt-

and the eﬀects of the control scheme on the harmonic per- age ripple is allowed to present across a DC-link in order to

formance cannot be found by using this model. A general minimize the decoupling capacitor (Hu et al., 2010), hence

model modiﬁed from a conventional control structure dia- the constant DC-link voltage assumption is not valid.

gram is introduced in Section 2 to analyze the harmonic The harmonic transfer through three-phase bridge con-

formation process. The ‘harmonic impedance’ concept verters is investigated in (Jiang and Ekstrom, 1997), and it

(Twining and Holmes, 2003) is used to quantitatively calcu- is found that the voltage second harmonic on a DC-link

late the harmonic amplitude caused by each source. This is produces a third harmonic on the AC side. However, the

important because of the growing concern of harmonics ﬁfth, seventh, and a series of odd harmonics are also found

generated by these devices, and their eﬀect upon other in the output current frequency spectrum caused by the

equipment. DC-link voltage ripple (Wang et al., 2011). The explana-

The current harmonics are measured from PV inverters tion of this phenomenon cannot be found in previous

installed in the CSIRO microgrid. The ﬁeld measurements research. Many methods have been proposed to eliminate

show that, under diﬀerent operating conditions, the abso- the current harmonics caused by the DC-link ripple

Fig. 1. Block diagram of (a) single-stage inverter and (b) two-stage inverter.

184 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

ciﬁcally designed PWM control algorithm (Enjeti and Shi-

reen, 1992) is proposed to compensate the DC-link voltage

ripple. In (Brekken et al., 2002), a control technique that

allows for 25% ripple voltage without distorting the output

current waveform is proposed. The cutoﬀ frequency in this VDC Vinv

CDC Vg

design is 10 Hz, and it could attenuate the voltage ripple in

the control loop, but the system dynamic performance is

degraded. All these works aim to eliminate the eﬀects of

the DC-link voltage ripple. However, the analytical model

for qualitative information and an understanding of the

relationship between the DC-link voltage ripple and the

output current harmonics is still missing.

PWM

A new model of PV inverter is presented that provided

Iout

detail relating to the harmonics produced by the DC-link

voltage ripple. The conventional linear model of a grid con- PI PLL Vg

nected PV inverter is modiﬁed by adding the representation Iref

of the DC-link voltage ripple. The modiﬁed model becomes

a periodical time-varying system. A simulation model is Iref

developed based on the modiﬁed model by using Matlab/ Fig. 2. PWM inverter framework with current-controlled feedback loop.

Simulink.

This paper is organized as follows. A general model with

harmonic information is introduced in Section 2. In Sec- current control scheme is used. The inverter is connected to

tion 3 This model is used to analyze the harmonic distor- the grid via a ﬁlter. In this paper an inductor is used for

tions under the ‘harmonic impedance’ concept. The ﬁeld simplicity of analysis. A feedback control with the PI con-

measurement results are shown in Section 4 which are been troller is used for the PWM inverter to force the output

used to explain the high THD phenomenon and validate current lout to track a reference output current lref. The

the analysis result. In Section 5 the double-line frequency phase angle of lref is obtained from the grid voltage Vg

voltage ripple on the DC-link is identiﬁed as the cause of via a phase locked loop (PLL). The amplitude of the refer-

a series of odd harmonics. A time-varying model is pro- ence current |Iref| is generated by the voltage control loop

posed to analyze this phenomenon. Simulation results depending on the maximum power point tracking process.

and conclusions are given in Sections 6 and 7 respectively. The design of the voltage control loop varies between dif-

ferent inverter topologies. The generation of |Iref| can be

2. General model of PV inverter found in Twining and Holmes (2003); Zhao et al. (2011).

Since there is no harmonic information included, the 2.2. Conventional model of current regulation scheme

conventional model cannot be used to answer the question

that ‘how does harmonics changes under diﬀerent power Fig. 3 shows the conventional control structure diagram

levels.’ After re-examine the harmonic formation process, of the current-controlled inverter. This model can be ana-

a general model of PV inverter is introduced by adding lyzed by using conventional linear analysis methods. It

two harmonic sources to the conventional model. can help the designer to tune the controller (Armstrong

et al., 2005) and investigate the control performance and

2.1. Full bridge PV inverter with current control stability (Maknouninejad et al., 2011). The close loop

transfer function is given by following equation:

Fig. 2 shows an example PWM inverter framework with GPI GPWM Ginv Gf Gf

current feedback control. It is the most common structure I out ¼ I ref Vg ð1Þ

1 þ GPI GPWM Ginv Gf 1 þ GPI GPWM Ginv Gf

used by the commercial products. The inverter includes

four power switches, an output inductor and a DC-link where GPI, GPWM, Ginv and Gf are the transfer functions for

capacitor CDC. VDC is the DC-link voltage which presents the PI controller, PWM, inverter and ﬁlter, respectively. In

two cases: with or without voltage ripple. The two diﬀerent this model, only the fundamental waveforms are consid-

cases are treated separately in Sections 3 and 5. Vinv and Vg ered, harmonic information is needed for the harmonic dis-

are the output voltage of the full-bridge inverter and the tortion analysis.

grid voltage, lout is the inverter output current. The grid

connected inverter output terminal is connected with the 2.3. The modiﬁed model with harmonic information

ﬁxed grid voltage, and the inverter input voltage is the pre-

ferred control variable to provide MPP tracking. Only the The modiﬁed model based on a conventional current

input voltage and output current can be controlled, hence a control structure diagram for a PWM inverter with har-

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 185

Grid Voltage

Vg

Iout

GPI GPWM Ginv Gf

Iref

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5

PI

Vinv a

Iout

S5

Switch

Grid Voltage

Harmonics

+Vg harmonics

Vswitch harmonics

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5

Iref GPI GPWM Ginv Gf Iout

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5

monic information is shown in Fig. 4. This ﬁgure shows the noting that the VDC can be either a constant or a time

positions and types of harmonic sources which need to be varying signal, both cases are treated separately in Sec-

added. The upper trace shows how the output current S5 tions 4 and 5.

is generated based on a reference current by the full bridge – S5 is the inverter output current Iout. S5 = (S4 Vg)Gf -

inverter with current control. The second trace shows the Vg is the grid voltage and may involve voltage harmon-

model of current regulation scheme involving the harmon- ics Vg harmonics. S4 Vg is the voltage diﬀerence across

ics information. Compared with Fig. 3, in the PWM sec- the output ﬁlter. Where, Gf = 1/(Ls), where L is the

tion the switch harmonic source Vswitch harmonics is added inductance of the ﬁlter.

to form a pulse waveform from the sinusoidal signal. This

harmonic source can introduce the character of the PWM, This general model can be used to analyze harmonic dis-

such as the switching frequency and the type of PWM. The tortion for both with or without voltage ripple on the DC-

output current depends on the voltage diﬀerence between link.

grid voltage and inverter output voltage. Hence, the grid

voltage harmonic source is added at the inverter section 3. Output current harmonics analysis

in Fig. 4. The waveform of each stage is sketched in the

lowest trace in Fig. 4 and is described as follows: For the single-stage inverter with a very large capacitor,

the DC-link voltage can be assumed as a constant. The

– S1 is the error signal between the reference current and close-form solution of the output current harmonic distor-

the inverter output current, S1 = Iref Iout = Iref S5. tion can be derived under the ‘harmonic impedance’ con-

– S2 is the amplitude modulation ratio, S2 = S1GPI, cept. This concept is based on the well-established linear

where the transfer function of the PI controller is technique, it is used in this section to investigate the har-

GPI = kp + ki/s. kp is the proportional gain and ki is monic variation under diﬀerent power levels.

the integral gain. The model in Fig. 4 is linear when VDC is a constant

– S3 is the gate signal generated by the PWM generator. value and therefore diﬀerent frequency components can

S3 = S2GPWM + Vswitch harmonics, where GPWM = 1/Cpk be analyzed separately. The output signal is the superposi-

and Cpk is the peak value of the carrier signal. tion of all signals, however, for summating harmonic com-

– S4 is the inverter output voltage Vinv, S4 = S3Ginv. S3 is ponents at the same frequency, the phase angle of each

scaled by the DC-link voltage, Ginv = VDC. It is worth harmonic component needs to be considered. Each har-

186 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

Table 1

Harmonics represented under ‘harmonic impedence’ concept.

Harmonics in the output current Harmonic impedance

G

f 1þG G Ginv Gf

Grid background voltage I out g harmonics ¼ 1þGPI GPWM Ginv Gf V g harmonics (3) Z g harmonics ¼ PI GPWMf

(4)

G G 1þG G Ginv Gf

Switch harmonics I out switch harmonics ¼ 1þGPI GinvPWMfGinv Gf V switchharmonics (5) Z switch harmonics ¼ PIGinvPWM

Gf (6)

monic component of output current Iharmonics from the PV at high frequency can be ﬁltered out easily, however, this

inverter can be calculated as an individual harmonic source requires an appropriate design otherwise it will cause

Vharmonics divided by its harmonic impedance Zharmonics. power losses and stability problems.

V harmonics It can be found from (5) that the switch harmonics is not

I harmonics ¼ ð2Þ related to the reference current. In other words, if the

Z harmonics

Vswitch harmonics is constant, the harmonic components will

The harmonic sources include grid voltage harmonics, not change as the inverter output power level varies.

switch harmonics, reference current harmonics, etc. The

harmonic impedance can be obtained by calculating the 3.3. DC-link voltage variation due to MPPT

gain of a close-loop transfer function at the harmonic fre-

quency. This impedance provides a simple measure of har- As shown in Fig. 1a, the PV array output directly con-

monic sensitivity of a current regulation scheme (Twining nects with the DC-link in the single-stage PV inverter.

and Holmes, 2003). The DC voltage variation also changes The input voltage of the interfacing converter is the pre-

the harmonic impedance. The DC-link voltage ripple can ferred control variable to provide MPP tracking (Suntio

be another harmonic source which will be treated in Sec- et al., 2010). The DC-link voltage varies according to the

tion 5. The harmonic distortion caused by each source is I–V curve of the PV modules. For other inverter conﬁgura-

calculated separately as follows; the relationship between tions, there is also the possibility of changes in the DC-link

each distortion and the output power level is given. voltage.

Based on (1), this variation has no eﬀect on harmonic

3.1. Grid background voltage distortion sources, but the inverter transfer function Ginv will change,

hence, the harmonic impedance also will change. Accord-

The output current is generated by the voltage diﬀerence ing to the PV I–V curve, the voltage maximum power point

between the inverter output voltage Vinv and the grid volt- which equals to VDC decreases as the PV generated power

age Vg across a ﬁlter. If the grid voltage contains harmon- decreases, so the harmonic component caused by grid volt-

ics, it becomes a harmonics source for the output current. age will increase. This conclusion is veriﬁed by the simula-

The ﬁeld measurement results show that the grid voltage tion result of a realistic example which is shown in

harmonics may vary from one location to another but they Section 6.

do exist at all times, especially the low order harmonics

which are hard to ﬁlter out. A number of control methods

3.4. Other causes of harmonics

to suppress the current distortion caused by the grid volt-

age harmonics are proposed (Abeyasekera et al., 2005;

Quantization and resolution eﬀects, limitations of sens-

Wang et al., 2010).

ing accuracy, and positioning of the sensor have all been

According to Fig. 4 the harmonic of output current

mentioned as causes of harmonics by other researchers.

caused by the grid voltage harmonics and the harmonic

impedance are listed in Table 1. It can be seen in (3) that

current harmonics due to the grid voltage distortion has

no relationship with the inverter output power level. One

realistic example of calculating the harmonic components

caused by the grid voltage distortion is given in Section 6.

and simulation. The switch harmonics generated by the

unipolar PWM are at double switch frequency. According

to Fig. 4, the harmonic component in the output current

caused by switch harmonics and the harmonic impedance

are shown in Table 1. This switch harmonics which appear Fig. 5. Harmonic spectrum of signal from PLL block.

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 187

Table 2

Harmonic variation as PV output power decrease.

Factors Grid voltage distortion Switch harmonics DC-link voltage variation PLL

Harmonic amplitude Constant Approximately constant Increase VDC decrease) Decrease proportional to PAC

According to (3) (5) Fig. 16 Fig. 5

front voltage control loop in a dual loop control algorithm

or from the PLL block. In the simulation result, the har-

monic spectrum is measured directly at the output of the

PLL block as shown in Fig. 5. This harmonic distortion

appears at a very high frequency, and it may be ﬁltered

out easily by the output ﬁlter. The dead time of the switch- PV

ing signal also causes harmonics in the output current modules

(Seung-Gi and Min-Ho, 1991).

3.5. Harmonic variation as PV output power decrease

Fig. 6. Locations and orientations of some PV generators.

The possible causes of the harmonics which summarized qﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

P1 2

in this section is been investigated individually. Since the n¼2 I n

THD ¼ 100% ð7Þ

model is linear, only one cause is adjusted and all the other I1

causes remain unchanged. Some general conclusions for where I1 is the magnitude of the fundamental frequency

harmonic distortion when the inverter output power is (50 Hz) component of the current, and In is the nth order

decreasing are listed in Table 2. harmonic current. All the data are recorded at the same

The switch harmonics and PLL caused harmonics only moment, and therefore the PV generators share the same

appears at high frequency. The high order harmonics can ambient temperature and solar insolation. The diﬀerent

be attenuated by the ﬁlter of the inverter, hence it will cause power levels are caused by the diﬀerent orientations of

very limited impact to the power system. The utility only some PV systems. Fig. 6 shows locations and orientations

regulates the low order harmonics, for example less than of some PV generators. The measurement was carried out

the 50th order. As analyzed in this section, the harmonic in the middle of a cloudy day, the daily global solar expo-

amplitude will increase when the output power of the inver- sure was 4.8 kWh/m2 and the ambient temperature was

ter decreases. This is mainly caused by the DC-link voltage 26 °C.

variation. Table 3 shows the measurement results which include:

PV output power, inverter rated power, ratio of actual

4. Measurement of harmonic distortion at the CSIRO power output and rated power (P/Pr), and THD of the cur-

microgrid rent calculated by using Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) up

to 50th order harmonics. The inverters are commercial

A ﬁeld measurement is carried out at the CSIRO micro- products with single-stage topology from SMA (SMA,

grid to validate the aforementioned correlation between 2005), which are numbered from 35 to 47, and their name-

harmonic distortion and PV output power levels. The phe- plate capacity is either 1000 W or 1500 W, as indicated in

nomenon of high THD values at low power levels is the third row of the table. According to the datasheet, this

explained, and the harmonic amplitude of several low type of inverters use the same topology as shown in Fig. 2.

order harmonics is shown. The measurement system’s digital outputs are 16-bit, which

The CSIRO microgrid laboratory is located at the represents a potential 65,536 diﬀerent values across the cur-

CSIRO Energy Centre, Newcastle, Australia. This micro- rent measurements range. For this PV inverter the quanti-

grid consists of distributed generation sources, on-site stor- sation eﬀect is minimal. As shown in Fig. 7, the data can be

age, a single point of common coupling to the utility grid divided into three groups based on power levels, represent-

and real-world loads in the form of oﬃces, labs and work- ing full load, half load and light load conditions.

shops (Cornforth et al., 2011). It can be seen from Fig. 7 that THD of the inverter with

A total of 13 PV inverters which operate at diﬀerent low power output is up to around 20 times higher than the

power output levels are connected to the grid in parallel inverter with high power output. It is also been highlighted

by distribution over the three phases. Actual waveforms in Table 3 as bold values. This phenomenon is reported in

are captured at 8000 samples per second and THD is calcu- Inﬁeld et al. (2004); Chicco et al. (2009); Du et al. (2011);

lated from the equation: Hernandez et al. (2011).

188 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

Table 3

PV output power and current THD.

Inverter no. 38 43 46 37 40 41 47 39 35 42 45 44 36

PV output power (W) 654 1481 46.7 655 1450 1450 93.5 1465 1465 1434 109.1 46.8 639

Rated Power (W) 1000 1500 1000 1000 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1000 1000

P/Pr (%) 65.40 98.74 4.68 65.5 99.67 99.67 6.23 97.7 97.7 95.6 7.27 4.68 63.9

Current THD (%) 2.59 2.74 20.77 1.85 2.11 4.19 35.93 4.77 2.55 3.37 17.52 21.74 1.87

Current THD (%)

Inverter No.

mental components. The higher THD shows that the wave-

form is more diﬀerent to a pure sinusoidal waveform than

the one with lower THD. The voltage THD is widely used

in utility standards to regulate voltage distortion, however,

extra attention needs to be paid when using current THD.

In the Australian standard (AS_4777-2005) and IEEE 929-

2000 standard (IEEE_929-2000), the current THD is lim-

ited to less than 5% and compliance tests specify full power.

Instead current THD, the total demand distortion

(TDD) is used to regulate current harmonics in IEEE

519-1992 (1992). The current TDD is calculated as below:

qﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

P1 2

n¼2 I n

TDD ¼ 100% ð8Þ

IL Fig. 8. Low order harmonic component amplitudes under three diﬀerent

power levels.

where IL is the maximum demand load current. The equa-

tions for THD and TDD diﬀer only in the denominator.

Unlike the denominator of THD, IL is a constant value changes. Hence the high current THD at low power levels

for certain device or appliance. The term TDD is intended shown in Fig. 7 may not be a serious problem unless the

to regulate the harmonic amplitude regard to its power sinusoidal shape of the current waveform is required for

capacity. It is understandable that the larger electrical de- some applications, such as metering and protection.

vice can be allowed to generate more harmonic distortion Although there is no standard specify the waveform distor-

than the smaller one. These two types of regulations ap- tion requirement for the inverter under part-load opera-

pears in the standards by using THD and TDD are actually tion, there is a possibility that the harmonic amplitude

referring the same parameter – the amplitude of harmonics. violates the harmonics limitation. Analysis of harmonic

For example, the sum of harmonic amplitudes of 5% THD distortion for the inverter under diﬀerent operating condi-

measured at full load condition is exactly equals to 5% tion is needed.

TDD for the same device. Ultimately, the utility only in- The low order current harmonic components amplitude

tend to regulate the harmonic amplitudes of each device are measured for three diﬀerent power levels which are

with considering their power capacity to ensure the grid indicated by P/Pr (65.4%, 11.5% and 4.68%) as shown in

performance. Fig. 8. The harmonic amplitude changes as the power level

The harmonic amplitude is calculated to evaluate the changes. It can be seen that the 3rd and 7th harmonic

harmonic distortion. It is shown in Figs. 7 and 8 that amplitudes increase, in absolute terms, as the power level

although the current THD is many times higher than it is decreases. The ﬁeld measurement results show the same

under full-power operation, the changes of harmonic abso- trend as the analysis results which are given in the end of

lute amplitude are relatively small compared with the THD Section 3. Hence, the analysis result is validated. DC-link

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 189

harmonic amplitude increase. But the 5th harmonic ampli- discharging

tude decreases. This may be caused by the quantization and 2P o

to explain the harmonic variation trend under diﬀerent Po

power levels, the quantitative analysis will be carried out

in the future work. 0

Capacitor

discharging

5. Model of PV inverter with the DC-link voltage ripple Vmax

Vrip

It can be seen from the previous section that only the

grid voltage harmonics could possibly cause low order har- Vmin

monics in the output current. However, there is a series of VDC

≈

odd harmonics appears in the output current especially for

the two-stage inverter, although there is no harmonics pre- 0

0 π/ 2 π 3π/ 2 2π

sents in the grid voltage. This phenomenon is also reported

in Darwish et al. (2011); Wang et al. (2011) which indicate Fig. 9. Waveform of output power and DC-link voltage within one line

that there is an unidentiﬁed harmonics sources apart from period.

these causes which summarized in Section 3. However fur-

ther analysis has not been provided. For two-stage inverter, According to Eq. (9) that the voltage ripple amplitude de-

there is a design ﬂexibility that allow relatively large ripple pends on both Po and VDC. For the single-stage inverter,

on DC-link, since it will not aﬀect the MPPT eﬃciency. In the capacitor voltage and PV voltage are the same. Since

the situation where a double-line frequency voltage ripple the VDC is cancelled out in Eq. (9) for this case, the voltage

appears on the DC-link, this ripple could be the cause of ripple varies as PV current changes. For the two-stage in-

current harmonics and this needs to be veriﬁed. The cur- verter, the DC-link voltage is controlled separately by the

rent control loop is analyzed to identify the characteristics second stage. The voltage ripple Vrip decreases as the out-

of the output current spectrum. put power level Po decreases. This section focuses on ana-

lyzing the harmonic caused by a certain amount of voltage

5.1. Amplitude of the DC-link voltage ripple ripple.

frequency can be found on the DC-link. This is because of 5.2. Model of inverter with the DC-link voltage ripple

the unbalance of the instantaneous DC input and AC out-

put power. The AC output instantaneous power, PAC, con- Fig. 10 shows the model of the inverter which is based

tains a pulsation at double-line frequency. The DC output on Fig. 4 and has taken into account the DC-link voltage

power of PV modules is controlled to be relatively constant ripple. The inverter transfer function Ginv in Fig. 4 is

at MPP for a given solar insolation. Hence, the power pul- replaced by the section under the triangle shading which

sation caused by the single-phase power generation is con- is a sinusoidal signal Vrip at double-line frequency on top

verted into static storage energy on the decoupling of the DC component VDC. Since the voltage ripple is

capacitor CDC. time-varying, the transfer function for this section cannot

The double-line frequency oscillation of the output be derived. In McGrath and Holmes (2009) the authors

power will introduce a ripple voltage on the DC-link volt- point out that close-form solutions cannot be derived when

age with the same frequency but phase-shifted. Fig. 9 the harmonic ripple components are not neglected. How-

shows the waveforms of output power and DC-link voltage ever, numeric solutions can be evaluated for any particular

in one line period. The DC-link voltage waveform is com- operating condition by using this model.

posed of a double-line frequency voltage ripple on top of a The harmonic characteristics of the output current in

relatively constant voltage VDC. The peak to peak value of Fig. 10 can be identiﬁed by qualitatively analyzing the sim-

the DC-link voltage ripple, Vrip, derived as Eq. (12) in pliﬁed loop model. The section under the triangle shading

Krein et al. (2012), is used and rearranged as (9) in this is also known as the amplitude modulation, the feedback

paper. loop with unit delay is shown in Fig. 11, where Z1 denotes

Po the delay of a unit sample period. Compared with Fig. 10,

V rip ¼ ð9Þ in this simpliﬁed model several linear blocks are left out.

2pfC DC V DC

Due to the system linearity, the signal frequency character-

where f is the utility frequency 50 Hz, CDC is the DC-link istics will remain the same. An analysis method in sound

capacitor, and Po is the inverter output power. The atmo- processing research (Kleimola et al., 2011) is used to ana-

spheric variables such as the solar insolation and the ambi- lyze this simpliﬁed time-varying system. Two discrete-time

ent temperature can aﬀect the voltage ripple amplitude. sinusoidal signals Iref[n] = cos (xon) and Vrip[n] = cos (2xo-

190 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

Harmonics +Vg harmonics

S4

S1 S2 S3 S5

Iref GPI G PWM Gf I out

Vrip V DC

Ginv

y[n]

½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC

þ cosðxo ½n 2Þ½cosð2xo ½n 2Þ þ V DC

Iref [n]=cos(w0 n)

-1

V DC

Z ½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC

cosðxo ½n 3Þ½cosð2xo ½n 3Þ þ V DC

Vrip [n]=cos(2w0 n)

½cosð2xo ½n 2Þ þ V DC ½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ

Fig. 11. Amplitude modulation in unit delay feedback.

þ V DC ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC ð13Þ

This amplitude modulation in a feedback loop generates

a series of odd harmonics. The ﬁrst product term in (13) is

n) are used as an example. The output signal y[n] can be analyzed as an example. According to Euler’s formula, this

written as the reference signal cos (xon) minus the delayed term can be expressed as the sum of sinusoids with angular

output signal y[n 1] then multiplied with the amplitude velocity xo and 3xo, which is the fundamental and 3rd

modulation section under the triangle shading, which is harmonics.

cos (2xon) + VDC.

y½n ¼ cosðxo nÞ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC

y½n ¼ ½cos ðxo nÞ y½n 1½cos ð2xo nÞ þ V DC

1 1

¼ cosðxo nÞ½cos ð2xo nÞ þ V DC y½n ¼ cosðxo nÞV DC þ cosð3xo nÞ þ cosðxo nÞ ð14Þ

2 2

1½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC ð10Þ

5.3. Output spectrum formation via frequency shifting and

The initial condition, y[n] = 0, for n 6 0, xo is the angu- summation

lar velocity of a signal at the fundamental frequency, VDC

is a constant value. It worth noting that, in practice, the According to the modulation property of Fourier trans-

delay element requires memory, at any point in time n, form that multiplication in the time domain is equivalent to

we need to store y[n 1] so that it can be used in the com- convolution in the frequency domain, the output spectrum

putation y[n]. The y[n 1] is: of Fig. 11 is evaluated. The convolution process can be

illustrated by taking the under shading section in Fig. 11

y½n 1 ¼ ½cosðxo ½n 1Þ y½n 1 1½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ as an example, which transforms to a convolution integral

þ V DC ¼ cosðxo ½n 1Þ½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC in the frequency domain:

yðxÞ ¼ I ref ðxÞ ½V rip ðxÞ þ V DC

y½n 2½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC ð11Þ Z þ1

¼ I ref ðlÞV rip ðx lÞdl þ V DC

Substitute (11) into (10) 1

Z þ1

y½n ¼ cosðxo nÞ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC cosðxo ½n 1Þ I ref ðlÞdl ð15Þ

1

½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC ½cosð2xo nÞ þ V DC

Fig. 12 illustrates this process graphically, Fig. 12a is the

þ y½n 2½cosð2xo ½n 1Þ þ V DC ½cosð2xo nÞ representation of (14) in the frequency domain, the output

þ V DC ð12Þ spectrum of Fig. 12a is used as the input signals for

Fig. 12b which simulates the recursive process of the feed-

This feedback expression can be expanded into an inﬁ- back loop. The upper trace shows the input signal Iref(x)

nite summation of products given by: spectrum, the second trace shows the spectrum of

Vrip(x) + VDC. The next three traces show the positively,

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 191

(a) (b)

Fig. 12. Output signal spectrum of amplitude modulation formed via frequency shifting and summation.

none and negatively shifted input spectrum, while the lower tracks the reference. The simulation result of this schematic

trace shows the superposition of the frequency-shifted diagram is veriﬁed to match the experiment result (Trigg

spectrum. and Nayar, 2006). The speciﬁcations for the Simulink

It can be seen in Fig. 12b that the resulting spectrum model are shown in Table 4. The inverter used in the sim-

consists of 3rd and 5th harmonics. Further expanding ulation is been designed to be similar to the one used for

(13) and substituting with sinusoidal signals leads to the measurements. The parameters which can be obtained

conclusion that the resulting spectrum is an inﬁnite sum- from the product speciﬁcation are chosen for this simula-

mation of odd harmonics. The frequency domain convolu- tion, such as the power capability, input and output volt-

tion can be transformed back to the time domain and then age. However, the inverters installed in the CSIRO

the Fourier series can be obtained for the output signal. microgrid are commercial products and the control param-

However, it is not practical to use (13) to determine a eters stored inside the internal processor are not available

closed-form analytical solution in the feedback loop, to the public. The realistic values for these parameters

because of the inﬁnite summation. This veriﬁed the hypoth- are chosen, and a sensitivity analysis shows that diﬀerent

esis that the DC-link voltage ripple causes a series of odd control parameters do not greatly aﬀect the harmonic

harmonics. characteristics.

The simulation of the modiﬁed model in Fig. 10 is

6. Simulation results shown in Fig. 14. In order to allow for reproducible

research, the Simulink models are available from the corre-

The simulation of the single-phase PV inverter is shown sponding author upon request. The harmonic sources can

in Fig. 13. This model, developed by using the Matlab/Sim- be set independently, and the comprehensive eﬀects of all

ulink SimPowerSystems toolbox, comprises components harmonics can be analyzed through a graphical user inter-

such as the power stage (full-bridge inverter) and elements face (powergui). The switch harmonics are simulated by a

such as inductors, capacitors and resistors. The program- series of high frequency sinusoidal signals for the switch

mable voltage source is used to simulate the AC grid with frequency 20 k Hz. The grid harmonics are simulated by

the ability to inject the voltage harmonic distortion. The a series of low frequency sinusoidal signals. In Fig. 14 only

current control scheme is used to ensure the output current the ﬁrst three odd harmonics are added, but it can be easily

192 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

Table 4

Speciﬁcations of the 1 kVA inverter. low order harmonic caused only by the DC-link voltage

ripple. The other parameters are set as shown in Table 4,

Parameter Label Value Unit

and the DC-link ripple is 47.3 V in this case. Fig. 15b shows

Rated Power Pr 1 kVA

that the simulation result of proposed model matches well

Rated output frequency f 50 Hz

Rated output voltage Vg 240 V with the inverter simulation result Fig. 15a which has been

DC-link capacitance CDC 100 lF proved matches the experimental results (Trigg and Nayar,

DC-link voltage VDC 600 V 2006). A series of odd harmonics can be found in Fig. 15,

Filter inductance L 8.35 mH and this validates the characteristics of the harmonic spec-

Switch frequency fsw 20 kHz

trum described in Section 5. This simulation result proves

Proportional gain kp 0.06 N/A

Integral gain ki 800 N/A the DC-link voltage ripple generate a series odd harmonics

in the output current. Both models are run in Matlab/Sim-

ulink on the same computer, the modiﬁed signal model is

expanded to any frequency and set separately based on the 20 times faster than the model in Fig. 13.

local power quality. The amplitude of the DC-link voltage By using the modiﬁed model, the eﬀect of the DC-link

ripple can be calculated based on (9) or measured directly voltage variation on the harmonic impedance which is

from the DC-link. PLL harmonics can be set as the results mentioned in Section 3.3, is veriﬁed. The DC-link voltage

shown in Fig. 5. has been set as three diﬀerent valves (a. VDC = 400 V, b.

A comparison of the switch model simulation in Fig. 13 VDC = 500 V, c. VDC = 600 V) and the DC-link voltage

and the modiﬁed signal model in Fig. 14 is carried out. The ripple is set as zero. Substituting the parameters from

reference current Iref is set as 5 A for both models and the Table 4 into the loop transfer function (3):

Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194 193

Fig. 15. Simulation results from conventional model and proposed representation.

Bode Diagram light load conditions, the VDC decrease as long as Pac

-20

decreases, so the harmonic components caused by the grid

-30 voltage should increase.

Magnitude (dB)

System: a

-40 Frequency (Hz): 150

System: b

Frequency (Hz): 150

Magnitude (dB): -50.4

Magnitude (dB): -52.4

-50

Frequency (Hz): 150

Magnitude (dB): -54.1

-70

In this paper, a general model which modiﬁed from a

-80 conventional control structure diagram, has been intro-

90 duced to analyze the harmonic formation process. By using

this model the conclusion is found that several low order

a

45 harmonic amplitudes increase when PV inverter output

Phase (deg)

b

c power decrease. This conclusion has been validated by

0 the ﬁeld measurement results. This model can be used to

design an inverter with better power quality performance.

-45

For example, if the harmonic amplitudes at low power lev-

els need to be reduced, the designer should focus on atten-

-90

10

2

10

3 uation of the harmonic distortion from the grid voltage

Frequency (Hz) rather than other harmonic sources, or increasing of the

DC-link voltage.

Fig. 16. Bode plot of current control scheme under diﬀerent DC-link

The main ﬁnding of this work is a new time-varying

voltage.

model that is capable of analyzing the harmonic character-

istics of a two-stage inverter and showing their dependence

s on the DC link voltage. Since this paper is mainly focused

I out gharmonics ¼ Vg harmonics

8:35 103 s2 þ 36s þ 4:8 105 on analyzing the variation and characteristic of the har-

ð16Þ monics, a detailed quantities analysis of the harmonic for-

mation process will be addressed in future work.

gain can be read from Fig. 16, and the harmonic impedance Acknowledgements

is the reciprocal of this gain. The harmonic impedance for

the DC-link voltage levels a, b, c are 331, 416 and 506 The authors are grateful for the assistance of Mr. Tim

respectively. The harmonic components are calculated for Moore who supervised the experimental work supporting

the three diﬀerent voltage levels, by assuming the 3rd har- this study and to Dr. John Ward for critical remarks.

monic component is 1% Vg (230V 1 = 2.3 V). As shown The work presented in this paper was funded by CSIRO

in (4), the 3rd harmonic components in the output current under an OCE scholarship. The CSIRO Microgrid was

are 2.3/331 = 6.95 103A, 2.3/416 = 5.52 103 A and partly funded by the Australian Department of Environ-

2.3/506 = 4.54 103 A respectively. In other words, the ment, Water, Heritage and the Arts under Grant No.

large DC-link voltage (c. VDC = 600 V) shows a better per- RDG 08-29. The authors would like to thank the anony-

formance at attenuating the grid voltage distortion. For mous reviewers for their helpful comments.

194 Y. Du et al. / Solar Energy 94 (2013) 182–194

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