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Development ofan FPGA-based system for real-time simulation of photovoltaic modules

Koutroulis Eftychios, Kalaitzakis Kostas, Tzitzilonis Vasileios

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Year 2009
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation E. Koutroulis, K. Kalaitzakis, V. Tzitzilonis, “Development of an FPGA-based system for real-time simulation of photovoltaic modules”, Microelectronics Journal, Special Issue: Rapid System Prototyping, vol. 40, no. 7, pp. 1094-1102, Jul. 2009. doi: 10.1016/j.mejo.2008.05.014
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Photovoltaic (PV) simulators are indispensable for the operational evaluation of PV energy production system components (e.g. battery chargers, DC/AC inverters, etc.), in order to avoid the time-consuming and expensive field-testing process. In this paper, the development of a novel real-time PV simulator based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), is presented. The proposed system consists of a Buck-type DC/DC power converter, which is controlled by an FPGA-based unit using the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) principle. The system operator is able to define both the PV module type to be simulated and the environmental conditions under which the selected PV module operates. The proposed design method enhances the rapid system prototyping capability and enables the reduction of the power converter size and cost due to the high clock speed feature of the FPGA-based control unit. The experimental results indicate that, using the proposed method, the PV module current–voltage characteristics examined are reproduced with an average accuracy of 1.03%.