The efficiency of a photovoltaic (PV) system strongly depends on the transformation process from solar energy to electricity, where maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is widely regarded as a promising technology to harvest solar energy in the first step. Furthermore, inverters are an essential part of solar power generation systems. Their performance dictates the power yield, system costs and reliable operation. This paper proposes a novel control technology combining discontinuous pulse width modulation (DPWM) and overmodulation technology to better utilize direct current (DC) electrical power and to reduce the switching losses in the electronic power devices in conversion. In order to optimize the performance of the PV inverter, the overmodulation region is refined from conventional two-level space vector pulse width modulation (SVPWM) control technology. Then, the turn-on and turn-off times of the switching devices in different modulation areas are deduced analytically. A new DPWM algorithm is proposed to achieve the full region control. An experimental platform based on a digital signal processing (DSP) controller is developed for validation purposes, after maximum power is achieved via a DC/DC converter under MPPT operation. Experimental results on a PV system show that the DPWM control algorithm lowers the harmonic distortion of the output voltage and current, as well as the switching losses. Moreover, better utilization of the DC-link voltage also improves the PV inverter performance. The developed algorithm may also be applied to other applications utilizing grid-tie power inverters.
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- Photovoltaic power system