Virtual Prototyping and Distributed Control for Solar Array with Distributed Multilevel Inverter

Luan Viet Nguyen, Taylor T. Johnson

In this paper, we present the virtual prototyping of a solar array with a grid-tie implemented as a distributed inverter and controlled using distributed algorithms. Due to the distributed control and inherent redundancy in the array composed of many panels and inverter modules, the virtual prototype exhibits fault-tolerance capabilities. The distributed identifier algorithm allows the system to keep track of the number of operating panels to appropriately regulate the DC voltage output of the panels using buck-boost converters, and determine appropriate switching times for H-bridges in the grid-tie. We evaluate the distributed inverter, its control strategy, and fault-tolerance through simulation in Simulink/Stateflow. Our virtual prototyping framework allows for generating arrays and grid-ties consisting of many panels, and we evaluate arrays of five to dozens of panels. Our analysis suggests the achievable total harmonic distortion (THD) of the system may allow for operating the array in spite of failures of the power electronics, control software, and other subcomponents.

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