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MPPT - Maximum Power Point Tracking

http://bama.ua.edu/~bwbuckley/projects/mppt.html

PROJECTS

PICTURES

RESUME

ABOUT

mppt: a maximum power point tracking photovoltaic system.


INTRODUCTION
O MAXIMIZE A PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) SYSTEM'S OUTPUT POWER, CONTINUOUSLY TRACKING THE MAXIMUM POWER point (MPP) of the system is necessary. The MPP depends on irradiance condi&ons, the panel's temperature, and the load connected. Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms provide the theore cal means to achieve the MPP of solar panels; these algorithms can be realized in many dierent forms of hardware and so#ware. PV systems that lack MPPT rarely operate at the most ecient, MPP. This is why the rated power of the solar panel is almost never realized when connec ng a load. The goal of this project was to rapidly develop, construct, and test a working solu on to the MPP problem with a limited budget.

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION HARDWARE COMPONENTS SOLAR PANEL DIGITAL CONTROLLER DC-DC CONVERTER SENSING CIRCUITS DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG CONVERTER SOFTWARE AND ALGORITHMS MPPT ALGORITHMS EMBEDDED SOFTWARE FUTURE WORK PROJECT COST FUTURE WORK CONCLUSION

This project was developed from the ground up with only a few references. Dr. Jaber AbuQahouq was the team's advisor and provided invaluable guidance throughout the project's life me. The team consisted of ve undergraduate students: Travis Grant, Stephen Tirador, Nathan Wilbanks, Ma3 York, and myself. Rapid development necessitated that the team rst look through exis ng analysis and possible solu ons to the MPP problem. It became clear that the perturb and observe (P&O) technique was widely used for its ease of implementa on. It is based on the following criterion: if the opera ng voltage of the PV array is perturbed in a given direc on and if the power drawn from the PV array increases, this means that the opera ng point has moved toward the MPP and, therefore, the opera ng voltage must be further perturbed in the same

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direc on. Otherwise, if the power drawn from the PV array decreases, the opera ng point has moved away from the MPP and, therefore, the direc on of the opera ng voltage perturba on must be reversed. The team chose to implement the P&O algorithm in so#ware to add exibility to the system as well as simplify the system to the point where the system could be rapidly constructed and tes ng commenced. The following components were needed to design a minimal working solu on: solar panel, current sensor, voltage sensor, DCDC converter, digital controller, and the glue logic/circuitry to connect everything together.

SOLAR PANEL

HE SOLAR PANEL USED IN OUR SYSTEM IS AN OEM40 MODEL MANUFACTURED BY SUNWIZE TECHNOLOGIES, INC

and was provided by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Dr. Tim Haskew. It has a power ra ng of 40 W, an opencircuit voltage (Voc) of 21 Vdc, and a shortcircuit current (Isc) of 2.68 A.

DIGITAL CONTROLLER

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http://bama.ua.edu/~bwbuckley/projects/mppt.html

HE MICROCONTROLLER PROVIDES THE CONTROL IN OUR SYSTEM. THE CHOICE OF MICROCONTROLLER FOR THE

system dictates much of the cost, performance, and exibility of the en re system. Taking into considera on the project's constraints, the Texas Instruments TMS320F28335 model digital signal controller (DSC) was chosen. The singlechip C2000 family of microcontrollers is targeted toward real me control applica ons thanks to powerful, high performance integrated peripherals. The core is "mathop mized" and gives designers the means to improve system eciency, reliability, and exibility when the applica on requires complex algorithms. It features:
32BIT FLOATING POINT CPU (<=150 MHZ, MODIFIED HARVARD ARCHITECTURE) MEMORY: 68K SARAM, 512K FLASH MAC OPERATIONS 16 12BIT ADC CHANNELS (<=25MHZ) 18 PWM OUTPUTS LOW POWER DISSIPATION (<1W @ 150MHZ AND ALL PERIPHERAL CLOCKS ENABLED) 3 32BIT CPU TIMERS 1 WATCHDOG TIMER 88 GPIO 6 CHANNEL DMA

The C2000's development tools are very useable and help minimize development me. So#ware for the controller can be developed, deployed, and tested with ease thanks to the provided, easy to use IDE featuring a C/C++ assembler/compiler/linker in addi on to a powerful debugger and seamless device programmer.

DC-DC CONVERTER

DCTODC CONVERTER IS AN ELECTRONIC CIRCUIT WHICH CONVERTS A SOURCE OF DIRECT CURRENT FROM ONE voltage level to another. It is a class of power converter. Electronic switchmode DC to DC converters operate by storing the input energy temporarily and then releasing that energy to the output at a dierent voltage and current. Just like a transformer, they essen ally just change the input energy into a dierent impedance level. So whatever the output voltage level, the output power all comes from the input; there's no energy manufactured inside the converter. In fact some energy is used by the converter circuitry and components while doing their job. It is this principle that makes a DCDC Converter essen al for MPPT. The converter presents an electrical load to the solar panel that varies as the output voltage of the

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converter varies. This load varia on in turn causes a change in the opera ng point (current and voltage characteris cs) of the panel. Thus by intelligently controlling the opera on of the DCDC converter, the power output of the panel can be intelligently controlled and made to output the maximum possible. The DCDC power converter used in our system is a Micro 24 Vout, 100 W V28C24C100BL model manufactured by Vicor. The input voltage range of the converter is 936 Vdc. Because the voltage provided by the solar panel (which serves as the input voltage to the converter) can drop below the converter's 9 Vdc minimum and thus cause the converter to shut down, our MPPT system is only opera onal when the voltage provided by the solar panel is greater than or equal to 9 Vdc. The output voltage of the converter can be varied between 10% and 110% of its nominal 24 Vdc output (i.e. 2.426.4 Vdc) via a reference input voltage at the SC pin with respect to the OUT pin between 0.1231.353 Vdc. The converter has the capability of func oning in isolated or nonisolated mode depending on whether the grounds of the converter (IN and OUT) are separate or connected together, respec vely.

SENSING CIRCUITS
V OLTAGE S ENSOR

N ORDER FOR THE MPPT CONTROLLER TO MEASURE THE VOLTAGE PROVIDED BY THE SOLAR PANEL, TWO RESISTORS, R1

and R2, are employed in parallel with the solar panel to act as a voltage divider. The voltage across R2 in the voltage divider is fed into an analogtodigital converter (ADC) driver circuit (opamp in a voltage follower congura on that feeds into a lowpass lter) before being delivered to the ADCINA0 channel of the MPPT controller. By choosing the values of R1 and R2 as 1.07 M and 165 k, respec vely, the maximum amount of current diverted from the load, I2, is small enough, even in a worstcase scenario, to be considered negligible. The allowable voltage range for each ADC channel of the MPPT controller is 03 Vdc. Therefore, the voltage across R2 (which serves as a scaleddown representa on of the solar panel's voltage) should not exceed 3 Vdc. Based on the chosen value of R2 as 165 k, the maximum voltage, V(R2,max), sent to the ADC driver circuit (and thus ADC channel ADCINA0) is ~2.81 Vdc.

C URRENT S ENSOR

N ORDER FOR THE MPPT CONTROLLER TO MEASURE THE CURRENT PROVIDED BY THE SOLAR PANEL, A SINGLE RESISTOR

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(Rsense) is placed in series between the solar panel and the DCDC converter. The voltage across Rsense is fed into an AD8215 current sensor manufactured by Analog Devices whose output voltage is then fed into an ADC driver circuit (opamp in a voltage follower congura on that feeds into a lowpass lter) before being delivered to the ADCINA1 channel of the MPPT controller. By choosing the value of Rsense as 51 m, the maximum voltage drop across Rsense, VRsense, is small enough, even in a worstcase scenario, to be considered negligible. As stated previously, the allowable voltage range for each ADC channel of the MPPT controller is 03 Vdc. Therefore, the output voltage of the AD8215 current sensor (which serves as an equivalent voltage representa on of the solar panel's current) should not exceed 3 Vdc. Based on the chosen value of Rsense as 51 m, the maximum voltage, Vout, sent to the ADC driver circuit (and thus ADC channel ADCINA1) is ~2.73 Vdc.

C OMPLETE S ENSING C IRCUIT

WITH

ADC D RIVER C IRCUITS

N ORDER TO CONDITION EACH OF THE VOLTAGE SIGNALS SENT TO THE ADC CHANNELS OF THE MPPT CONTROLLER,

Texas Instruments OPA340 model opamps are used in voltage follower congura ons with each of their outputs fed into a lowpass lter. The OPA340s provide low output impedance to each of the ADC channels without modifying each of the output voltages being sent from the voltage and current sensor circuits. Of added benet is the opamps' ability to protect each of the ADC channels from being permanently damaged by an input voltage that exceeds its maximum opera ng threshold. This is accomplished by powering each of the opamps with the maximum allowed voltage of the ADC channels: 3 Vdc. This eec vely clips any poten ally damaging voltage that would otherwise be fed into the ADC channel at a safe value of 3 Vdc. The voltage and sensor circuits along with their corresponding ADC driver circuits are all combined to form the "sensing circuit" for the MPPT system.

DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG CONVERTER
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MPPT - Maximum Power Point Tracking

http://bama.ua.edu/~bwbuckley/projects/mppt.html

HE DCDC CONVERTER IS CONTROLLED VIA A REFERENCE INPUT VOLTAGE AT THE SC PIN WITH RESPECT TO THE

OUT pin between 0.1231.353 Vdc. The digital signal controller u lizes onchip pulse width modulated (PWM) signal generators to create an output signal meant to control the DCDC converter. An analog lowpass lter can remove the high frequency components of the PWM signal, leaving only the lowfrequency content. In this MPPT applica on, a secondorder passive lter was used to provide adequate ltering and resolu on. The PWM duty cycle is controlled via so#ware; the duty cycle values for which the reference input voltage of the converter is 0.1231.353 Vdc were obtained experimentally and the so#ware ensures that the signal is never outofrange. This (PWM as DAC) solu on is a legi mate lower cost alterna ve to dedicated ochip DACs.

MPPT ALGORITHMS
ARIOUS ALGORITHMS MAY PERFORM MPPT. IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A TECHNIQUE

to perform MPPT are the ability of an algorithm to detect mul ple maxima, costs, and convergence speed. The irradiance levels at dierent points on a solar panel's surface tend to vary. This varia on leads to mul ple local maxima power points in one system. The eciency and complexity of an algorithm determine if the true maximum power point or a local maximum power point is calculated. In the laVer case, the maximum electrical power is not extracted from the solar panel. The type of hardware used to monitor and control the MPPT system aect the cost of implemen ng it. The type of algorithm used largely determines the resources required to build an MPPT system. For a highperformance MPPT system, the me taken to converge to the required opera ng voltage or current should be low. Depending on how fast this convergence needs to occur and your tracking system requirements, the system requires an algorithm (and hardware) of suitable capability.

PERTURB

AND

O BSERVE

HE CONCEPT BEHIND THE " PERTURB AND OBSERVE" (P&O) METHOD IS TO MODIFY THE OPERATING VOLTAGE OR

current of the photovoltaic panel un l you obtain maximum power from it. For example, if increasing the voltage to a panel increases the power output of the panel, the system con nues increasing the opera ng voltage un l the power output begins to decrease. Once this happens, the voltage is decreased to get back towards the maximum power point. This pertubulance con nues indenitely. Thus, the power output value oscillates around a maximum power point and never stabilizes.

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P&O is simple to implement and thus can be implemented quickly. The major drawbacks of the P&O method are that the power obtained oscillates around the maximum power point in steady state opera on, it can track in the wrong direc on under rapidly varying irradiance levels and load levels, and the step size (the magnitude of the change in the opera ng voltage) determines both the speed of convergence to the MPP and the range of oscilla on around the MPP at steady state opera on.

I NCREMENTAL C ONDUCTANCE
NCREMENTAL CONDUCTANCE CONSIDERS THE FACT THAT THE SLOPE OF THE POWERVOLTAGE CURVE IS ZERO AT THE maximum power point, posi ve at the le# of the MPP, and nega ve at the right of the MPP. The MPP is found by comparing the instantaneous conductance (I/V) to the incremental conductance (I/V). Once you have the MPP, the system maintains this power point unless a change in V or I occurs (caused by an external event). If this happens, the algorithm will nd the new MPP.

This technique has an advantage in that it can reach and maintain the MPP without losing some eciency by having to oscillate around this point. Under rapidly changing condi ons this algorithm tracks more accurately than the P&O method. The disadvantage of this method is that it can take longer to reach the MPP because the increased computa on required decreases the number of perturba ons to the opera ng voltage and current possible in a set amount of me.

EMBEDDED SOFTWARE
O IMPLEMENT THIS INTELLIGENCE, THE GROUP EMPLOYED THE AFOREMENTIONED TF320F28335 DIGITAL controller. With this development target in mind, the so#ware development began immediately. The team focused on geXng minimal "working" code onto the controller as soon as possible. The team became familiar with the TI IDE, debugger, programmer, and most importantly the header les. Through the course of a couple of weeks dierent projects were deployed to the board,

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ranging from ashing an LED to running programs from the ash memory. Each peripheral to be used in the MPPT project was inves gated and played with in these rst few weeks. Most signicantly, unit tests for the PWM and the ADC (using DMA) were developed. Each unit test was built with predened pass/fail criteria. For the PWM unit test, the duty cycle of the PWM would be automa cally, con nuously varied through the en re opera ng range of the nal MPPT project as dened by the DCDC converter control pin specs. The test would pass if the PWM duty never exceeded or fell under the dened upper and lower limits and if the PWM duty was con nuously increasing or decreasing. This test could run without interfacing with the DCDC converter; an oscilloscope was hooked into the PWM pins of the controller and the test behavior was observed. For the ADC unit test, the result of an ADC conversion would be stored in a monitored variable. The reference analog signal was varied through a range of values and the variables value was recorded for each analog value. These recorded values were compared to calculated, expected values to verify opera on. Once the team was very comfortable working with the C2000, work began on a custom MPPT algorithm based on the P&O algorithm from before. This algorithm was aVempted rst since it was the simplest solu on requiring the least amount of eort while s ll fullling requirements. The simplicity of the algorithm could also aord the team more me to integrate the hardware and so#ware near the end of development if necessary. This system and algorithm does not require a scheduler; if the controller needed to be more reac ve to more inputs (tracking the MPP of more solar panels) then a scheduling method would likely be necessary to ensure a quick response to all inputs and ecient u liza on of the processor. This system is designed to run for a long me; the so#ware is single purpose and loops forever. Each loop is an itera on of the P&O algorithm described earlier. Each itera on starts by seXng a variable to the calculated amount of power being supplied by the panel (current and voltage values known from ADC). The program then switches on whether the power point is increasing or decreasing in voltage. Inside each case the itera on's power value is compared to the previous itera on's and the duty of the PWM is either increased or decreased to move closer to the MPP; if the PWM duty is increased, the voltage will be increasing, if the PWM duty is decreased, the voltage will be decreasing. Before repea ng the loop, the previous itera on's power variable is set to the current itera on's. Pseudo code for this behavior is below.
next_pwr = calcPwr(adc_voltage, adc_current); switch(voltage_direction){ case PV_RIGHT : if (next_pwr > prev_pwr){incDuty();} else if (next_pwr <= prev_pwr){ decDuty(); voltage_direction = PV_LEFT;} break; case PV_LEFT : if(next_pwr >= prev_pwr){decDuty();} else if (next_pwr < prev_pwr){ incDuty(); voltage_direction = PV_RIGHT;} break; } prev_pwr = next_pwr;

PROJECT COST
Item Solar Panel Digital Controller DCDC Converter Circuit Materials SunWize OEM40 (on hand) TMS320F28335 Experimenter Kit Vicor Micro 24 Vout, 100 W (V28C24C100BL) OPA340s, AD8215, prototyping board, passive components, etc Notes Price 0.00 110.00 175.00 35.00 $320.00
HEN PROPOSING THIS PROJECT, THE PROJECTED COST AND BUDGET WAS $500. WE CAME IN CONSIDERABLY

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under budget primarily thanks to having a solar panel on hand. A solar panel could have been constructed from solar cells available at $.5/WaV, or about $20, though construc on materials would add more cost. Our simple system (40W panel and P&O algorithm) could have been constructed with a very simple microcontroller and a less capable DCDC converter, bringing the cost down to close to $150. However, with a cheaper microcontroller, the math opera ons take longer to evaluate. The incremental conductance algorithm is more math intensive and has more control ow for one itera on; a cheap microcontroller will not oer the same performance as the C2000. Also, the C2000 has enough performance capabili es and ADC and PWM channels to calculate the MPPT of many dierent solar panels simultaneously.

FUTURE WORK
HE SCOPE OF THIS PROJECT WAS SIMPLY TO CREATE A WORKING PROTOTYPE OF A MPPT SYSTEM. THIS SYSTEM

successfully uses the simple P&O algorithm to reach the MPP. The addi onal resources (labor) needed to implement the more complex incremental conductance algorithm is quite modest. Reaching a stable, true MPP at steady state instead of oscilla ng around this point would improve the system's eciency and increase reliability. Thus implemen ng the incremental conductance algorithm is a good choice in con nuing this project. Another extension of this project would be to directly power the microcontroller and other circuits from the solar panel instead of from a power supply. Or to incorporate a power supply into the system that draws energy from the solar panel or an energy storage element that is in turn charged by the solar panel. This extension would allow the system to be deployed to remote loca ons. Yet another more useful system would be one that could directly power a DC or AC load. An addi onal DCDC converter would be needed to supply a regulated DC signal. An inverter is needed to supply an AC signal. If the AC signal is meant to connect to the grid, it is necessary to synchronize the frequency of the signal with that of the grid in addi on to limi ng the voltage to no higher than the grid voltage. This digital controller would allow us to add these features to our system with rela ve ease thanks to its high performance and many peripherals. UPDATE: Thanks to the success of this project and the large amount of documenta on le# behind, two new teams will be working on extending dierent parts of this project for next year.

CONCLUSION
RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEM, LIKE THE ONE IMPLEMENTED HERE, IS SUITABLE FOR RESIDENTIAL AND/OR

industrial applica ons. Such a system would typically provide a regulated AC output voltage that may also track the input mains u lity voltage in phase and amplitude at hundreds to thousands of waVs. Thus a system such as this can be deployed easily with liVle concern about adap ng a home or business's electrical wiring to take advantage of solar energy. Many areas allow surplus energy generated by systems such as this to be sold to the u lity grid in a policy known as "net metering." But for this project, these features were out of scope.

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