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Title: Modular Power Converters for PV Applications

Abstract

This report describes technical opportunities to serve as parts of a technological roadmap for Shoals Technologies Group in power electronics for PV applications. There are many different power converter circuits that can be used for solar inverter applications. The present applications do not take advantage of the potential for using common modules. We envision that the development of a power electronics module could enable higher reliability by being durable and flexible. Modules would have fault current limiting features and detection circuits such that they can limit the current through the module from external faults and can identify and isolate internal faults such that the remaining modules can continue to operate with only minimal disturbance to the utility or customer. Development of a reliable, efficient, low-cost, power electronics module will be a key enabling technology for harnessing more power from solar panels and enable plug and play operation. Power electronics for computer power supplies, communication equipment, and transportation have all targeted reliability and modularity as key requirements and have begun concerted efforts to replace monolithic components with collections of common smart modules. This is happening on several levels including (1) device level with intelligent control, (2) functional module level, and (3)more » system module. This same effort is needed in power electronics for solar applications. Development of modular units will result in standard power electronic converters that will have a lower installed and operating cost for the overall system. These units will lead to increased adaptability and flexibility of solar inverters. Incorporating autonomous fault current limiting and reconfiguration capabilities into the modules and having redundant modules will lead to a durable converter that can withstand the rigors of solar power generation for more than 30 years. Our vision for the technology roadmap is that there is no need for detailed design of new power converters for each new application or installation. One set of modules and controllers can be pre-developed and the only design question would be how many modules need to be in series or parallel for the specific power requirement. Then, a designer can put the modules together and add the intelligent reconfigurable controller. The controller determines how many modules are connected, but it might also ask for user input for the specific application during setup. The modules include protection against faults and can reset it, if necessary. In case of a power device failure, the controller reconfigures itself to continue limited operation until repair which might be as simple as taking the faulty module out and inserting a new module. The result is cost savings in design, maintenance, repair, and a grid that is more reliable and available. This concept would be a perfect fit for the recently announced funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000653) on Plug and Play Photovoltaics.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Facility
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1042924
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2012/216
TE1202000; CETE004; TRN: US201213%%210
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; DESIGN; DETECTION; DISTURBANCES; FLEXIBILITY; FUNCTIONALS; INVERTERS; MAINTENANCE; OPERATING COST; POWER GENERATION; POWER SUPPLIES; RELIABILITY; REPAIR; SOLAR ENERGY

Citation Formats

Ozpineci, Burak, and Tolbert, Leon M. Modular Power Converters for PV Applications. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1042924.
Ozpineci, Burak, & Tolbert, Leon M. Modular Power Converters for PV Applications. United States. doi:10.2172/1042924.
Ozpineci, Burak, and Tolbert, Leon M. Tue . "Modular Power Converters for PV Applications". United States. doi:10.2172/1042924. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1042924.
@article{osti_1042924,
title = {Modular Power Converters for PV Applications},
author = {Ozpineci, Burak and Tolbert, Leon M},
abstractNote = {This report describes technical opportunities to serve as parts of a technological roadmap for Shoals Technologies Group in power electronics for PV applications. There are many different power converter circuits that can be used for solar inverter applications. The present applications do not take advantage of the potential for using common modules. We envision that the development of a power electronics module could enable higher reliability by being durable and flexible. Modules would have fault current limiting features and detection circuits such that they can limit the current through the module from external faults and can identify and isolate internal faults such that the remaining modules can continue to operate with only minimal disturbance to the utility or customer. Development of a reliable, efficient, low-cost, power electronics module will be a key enabling technology for harnessing more power from solar panels and enable plug and play operation. Power electronics for computer power supplies, communication equipment, and transportation have all targeted reliability and modularity as key requirements and have begun concerted efforts to replace monolithic components with collections of common smart modules. This is happening on several levels including (1) device level with intelligent control, (2) functional module level, and (3) system module. This same effort is needed in power electronics for solar applications. Development of modular units will result in standard power electronic converters that will have a lower installed and operating cost for the overall system. These units will lead to increased adaptability and flexibility of solar inverters. Incorporating autonomous fault current limiting and reconfiguration capabilities into the modules and having redundant modules will lead to a durable converter that can withstand the rigors of solar power generation for more than 30 years. Our vision for the technology roadmap is that there is no need for detailed design of new power converters for each new application or installation. One set of modules and controllers can be pre-developed and the only design question would be how many modules need to be in series or parallel for the specific power requirement. Then, a designer can put the modules together and add the intelligent reconfigurable controller. The controller determines how many modules are connected, but it might also ask for user input for the specific application during setup. The modules include protection against faults and can reset it, if necessary. In case of a power device failure, the controller reconfigures itself to continue limited operation until repair which might be as simple as taking the faulty module out and inserting a new module. The result is cost savings in design, maintenance, repair, and a grid that is more reliable and available. This concept would be a perfect fit for the recently announced funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000653) on Plug and Play Photovoltaics.},
doi = {10.2172/1042924},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {5}
}

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