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Reliability, Efficiency, and Cost Comparisons of MWScale Photovoltaic Inverters

Yaosuo Xue, Senior Member, IEEE


Corporate Research & Technology Siemens Corporation Princeton, NJ 08540 yaosuo.xue@siemens.com
AbstractThis paper surveys the-state-of-the-art of high power photovoltaic (PV) inverters, and a novel quasi-Z source cascaded multilevel inverter (CMI) is proposed for application to MW-scale PV system. The proposed quasi-Z source CMI has a constant dc-link voltage and minimum KVA rating, compared to a traditional CMI with an unbalanced dc-link voltage and oversized KVA rating. Four MW-scale PV inverter topologies, including two 2-level inverters with and without transformer, traditional CMI, and quasi-Z source CMI, are compared in their reliability, power loss, and cost, by using an example of 1MW/4160V PV inverter. The quantified comparison shows that the traditional and quasi-Z source CMIs achieve better performance metrics in MW-scale PV inverter applications, than the 2-level inverters. Moreover, the quasi-Z source CMI is preponderant, when compared to traditional CMI, in its higher efficiency, lower cost, and onethird power modules saving. It is concluded that multilevel and modular topologies could become main structures for utilityscale PV inverters.

Baoming Ge, Member, IEEE Fang Zheng Peng, Fellow, IEEE


Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824 transformer, the resultant cost-volume-loss issue is always its shortcoming, so the transformer-less topology is more preferable [2], due to higher efficiency, lower cost and volume, if the galvanic isolation is not necessary. For high power (over 100 kW) PV system, most commercial inverters use 2-level single-stage full bridge structure [11]-[14], and to reach higher power rating, e.g. MW scale, multiple units are connected in parallel, which also achieve modularity and scalability. Since its voltage rating is low, the LF transformer is needed to transfer the PV power to medium or high voltage grid, suffering from low total efficiency, high volume and weight, and high cost. An additional disadvantage is that the inverter must be oversized to cope with the wide PV voltage variation due to the changes of solar irradiation and temperature. A dc-dc converter can be added in front of inverter forming a two-stage inverter [15-16], to minimize the required inverter KVA rating and boost the wide range of voltage to a constant desired value. But the switch in the dcdc converter can increase cost and decrease efficiency. Moreover, its voltage gain is still limited if without a MF transformer, so as to a low voltage range. With a MF transformer in the dc-dc converter will further increase its cost and reduce its efficiency, which is not suitable for high power applications. The cascaded multilevel inverter (CMI), first proposed in [22] for motor drive applications, and hybrid cascaded inverter (HCI) present several advantages over 2-level inverter topologies [3-5]. These topologies generate multilevel voltage waveforms and can achieve high voltage connected directly to the grid with low voltage components and low voltage PV panel. Moreover, a distributed maximum power point tracking (MPPT) will maximize the solar power utilization, and a transformer-less approach improves efficiency and reduces cost. Therefore, the CMI is suitable for high power, high voltage, and high efficiency in PV system. However, existing CMI technology is based on traditional single-stage inverter module, and each module has to be oversized to adapt to wide voltage variations of PV arrays. The MPPT of each module of the CMI is controlled independently due to a distributed MPPT, which will cause a

I.

INTRODUCTION

Large-scale solar farms have been playing major roles in increasing the penetration level of solar power energy and in achieving the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) target. Despite distributed inverter architecture is emerging, MWscale centralized photovoltaic (PV) inverters still represent for the state-of-the-art architecture in utility-scale solar power applications due to low cents per watt, easy maintenance, and high conversion efficiency. Different inverter topologies have been adopted in PV industry and new topologies are proposed in literatures. Typically, these topologies can be classified into two types: with boost circuit and without boost circuit [1]. The former type employs a dc-dc converter to achieve a constant dc-link voltage even though PV array terminal voltage varies in a wide range, which can minimize the inverter capacity. In some countries, the transformer is required for galvanic isolation, and hence both requirements of isolation and higher voltage gain will be fulfilled by the line-frequency (LF) or medium-frequency (MF) transformers, where the LF transformer is heavier, bigger in terms of volume, higher in power loss than the MF transformer. No matter of LF or MF

978-1-4673-0803-8/12/$31.00 2012 IEEE

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dc-link voltage unbalance problem. Recently, Z-source and quasi-Z source inverter topologies are proposed in [6-10], which can achieve the boost and inversion in a single power conversion stage, and have a strong ability suitable for the PV voltage variation with high efficiency. As we discussed, reliability, efficiency and cost are main performance metrics when different PV inverter topologies are evaluated. Many PV inverter topologies have been compared and reviewed for single phase PV inverters [2021]. However, there are few investigations for three-phase topologies and MW-scale PV inverters. This paper presents a comparison of four different inverter configurations in terms of their reliability, efficiency, and cost. This rest of paper is organized as follows. First, three typical MW-scale PV inverter topologies are introduced, including transformer-less 2-level inverter, 2-level inverter with step-up transformer, and traditional CMI. Then a novel MW-scale Quasi-Z source CMI (QZS-CMI) topology is proposed to overcome disadvantages of traditional CMI in application to PV power system. Next, four MW-scale PV inverter topologies are compared in their reliability, efficiency, and cost, by using an example of 1-MW/4160-V PV inverter. Finally, on the basis of the compared results, trends and research directions toward more efficient MW PV inverters are concluded. II. THREE TYPICAL MW-SCALE PV INVERTER CONFIGURATIONS

DC-link capacitor design should consider voltage and current ripples. Within a 10% voltage ripple, the capacitance can be larger than 67 F. For the rated current 139 A with unity power factor, the current ripple rms value will be 70A. Due to PV maximum voltage of 13,586 V, many low voltage electrolytic capacitors need to be connected in series. However, each capacitor can support very small current ripple, multiple capacitor branches are connected in parallel. Therefore, total capacitance will be 547 F. B. 2-Level Inverter with Step-up Transformer Instead of three IGBTs connected in series, we can use a step-up transformer at the output of 2-level inverter, as shown in Fig. 2. For this case, one 6,500 V IGBT will handle 4529 V dc-link voltage stress with a 1.44 times margin, and the rated current should be three times of 139 A to reach 1 MW, i.e. 417 A. With a 1.44 times margin of current, we can choose 6500-V/600-A IGBT device. The transformer will step up the voltage from 1,387 V to 4,160 V, with a power rating of 1 MVA.
C
Filter

1387/4160,1MVA

PV Array

For comparison purpose, a 1-MW/4160-V PV inverter rating is used for all mentioned inverters. A. Transformer-less 2-Level Inverter For 2-level inverter, its dc-link voltage should be larger than 6793 V for a 4160-V inverter. Assuming that a PV voltage variation range has a ratio of 1:2 with a minimum PV array voltage chosen as 6,793 V, the resultant maximum dclink voltage will be 13,586 V. To handle this maximum voltage, IGBT voltage rating should be chosen in a larger value than 13,586 V. For 1.5 times margin, the required IGBT voltage rating will be 20,379 V, and required IGBT current rating with 208 A to handle the inverters rated current of 139 A. The maximum voltage of available IGBTs is 6,500 V, and we can connect three these IGBTs (6,500 V, 200 A) in series to support 19,500 V with a 1.44 voltage margin at the maximum PV voltage, as shown in Fig. 1.
C
Filter
Utility
Fig. 2. 1-MW/1387-V two-level inverter with transformer.

DC-link capacitor requires 603 F at 10% voltage ripple, and should handle 210 A current ripples. Due to PV maximum voltage of 4,529 V, many low voltage electrolytic capacitors should be connected in series and parallel. Therefore, total capacitance will be 4,715 F. C. Traditional Cascaded Multilevel Inverter For the H-bridge-based CMI, the cascaded DC-link voltage should be larger than 3,397 V to reach inverter rating voltage of 4,160 V. Because the PV voltage variation range is 1:2, the maximum cascaded DC-link voltage would be 6,794 V. If we use 1200-V/200-A IGBTs, nine H-bridge modules are necessary, with the maximum DC-link voltage 800 V and minimum 400 V per module. One more module per phase can be included to enhance the system reliability, and the designed system is shown in Fig. 3. In the switching frequency level, the DC-link capacitor of each module should handle the current ripple of 83 A at unity power factor, have a capacitance 1,200 F to restrict the voltage ripple within 10% when the dc-link voltage is 800 V. For each module, it has 2 ( is the fundamental angular frequency) ripple voltage and current, so the designed capacitor also should take into account 2 component. If designing 2 ripple voltage of 10%, the capacitance will be 9,840 F.

PV Array

Utility
Fig. 1. Two-level 1-MW/4160-V inverter without transformer.

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Filter

Utility

PV Array
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

PV Array

PV Array

PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV

H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge

PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV

H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge

PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV PV

H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge H-Bridge

Fig. 3. Traditional cascaded multilevel inverter for PV power system.

Filter

C2

C2 L2 L1 D C1 L2 L1 D C1

C2 L2

Utility PV Array
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

L1

D C1

PV Array

PV Array

PV PV PV PV PV PV

qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge

PV PV PV PV PV PV

qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge

PV PV PV PV PV PV

qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge qZS H-bridge

Fig. 4. Quasi-Z source cascaded multilevel inverter for PV power system.

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III.

PROPOSED QUASI-Z SOURCE CMI

Fig. 4 depicts a CMI topology combined with quasi-Z source networks. The boost function of quasi-Z source inverter module can ensure a constant DC-link peak voltage even if PV array voltage has a wide variation of 1:2. Application of quasi-Z source inverter in CMI will overcome the dc-link voltage unbalance issue in traditional CMI. Because the dc-link voltage of each module can be controlled to a constant 800 V, the 1200-V/200-A IGBTs are applicable in the quasi-Z source CMI. Assuming that we need X modules and the maximum modulation index is M at the PV panel voltage of 400 V, so there is
800 X M =
2VN 3

A. Reliability Estimate for Transformer-less 2-Level Inverter With 6500-V/200-A IGBT, each devices reliability is calculated from b=0.00074, T=5.9, A=0.7, R=183, S =0.39, Q=0.7, E=6.0, and the result will be

p ,IGBT = 0.92 Failures / 10 6 Hours


Referring to Fig. 1, the inverter uses 18 IGBTs, which leads to its reliability in
p , INV = 18 0.92 Failures / 10 6 Hours = 16.5 Failures / 10 6

= 3397

The Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) will be 60,606 Hours. B. Reliability Estimate for 2-Level Inverter with Step-up Transformer With 6500-V/600-A IGBT, each devices reliability is calculated from b=0.00074, T=5.9, A=0.7, R=274.6, S=0.39, Q=0.7, E =6.0, and the result will be

When we boost the voltage 400 V to 800 V, D = 0.25 and M = 0.75, then X = 5.66. We can choose X = 6 to reach the expected voltage, and one more module per phase will enhance the system reliability. It can be seen that the quasi-Z source CMI reduces 3 modules per phase, totally reduced 36 IGBTs, i.e. one-third power devices saving when compared to the traditional CMI shown in Fig. 3. The diode of quasi-Z source network will be designed as 1200 V / 200 A. In the switching level, a 2.78 mH inductance will be required to limit the switching ripple current within 20%. The capacitors ripple current rms value is 67 A. In considering 2 ripple voltage and current, we use capacitance of 7.05 mF for capacitor C2, and a capacitance of 8.6 mF for capacitor C1. IV. RELIABILITY COMPARISON The inverters reliability depends on all components reliability, such as IGBTs, capacitors, and other components. Each components reliability is related to many factors, such as temperature, voltage stress, power rating, environment, etc. The IGBT reliability can be calculated using a model in MIL-HDBK-217F [17], by

p ,IGBT = 1.37 Failures / 10 6 Hours


Referring to Fig. 2, the inverter uses 6 IGBTs, which leads to its reliability in

p , INV = 6 1.37 Failures / 10 6 Hours = 8.22 Failures / 10 6


The MTTF will be 121,650 Hours. C. Reliability Estimate for Traditional Cascaded Multilevel Inverter With 1200-V/200-A IGBT, each devices reliability is calculated from b=0.00074, T=5.9, A=0.7, R=97.9, S =0.39, Q =0.7, E =6.0, and the result will be

p ,IGBT = 0.49 Failures / 10 6 Hours


One module contains 4 IGBTs, so the reliability per module will be

p = b T A R S Q E Failures / 10 6 Hours
where b is the base failure rate, b=0.00074; T is the junction temperature factor, T=1 at 25C, and T=5.9 at 125C; A is the application factor, A=0.7; R is the power rating factor, R=1 at 1 W, and R=10 at 500 W, R=P0.37 at P> 500 W; S is the voltage stress factor, S=0.39 at 0.6 < ks<0.7, and S=1 at 0.9<ks<1, where ks is the applied voltage or rated voltage; Q is the quality factor, Q=0.7 for JANTXV, Q=1 for JANTX, and Q=2.4 for JAN; E is the environment factor, E=6.0 at ground fixed. It is known that the electrolytic capacitors have short lifetime and aging issues concerning the reliability of todays two-level inverters. From topological perspective, here we mainly focus on the power electronic components reliability.

p ,Module = 1.96 Failures / 10 6 Hours


We take the fault tolerance into account, with the Markov Reliability Model, the MTTF per phase is

MTTF =

0.8456

p ,Module

i.e. 431,428 Hours, and the whole cascaded inverters MTTF will be 143,809 Hours. D. Reliability Estimate For Quasi-Z Source Cascade Multilevel Inverter With 1200-V/200-A IGBT, its device reliability is

p ,IGBT = 0.49 Failures / 10 6 Hours


With 1200-V/ 200-A diode, its reliability can be calculated by

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p = b T S C Q E Failures / 10 6 Hours
where b=0.005; T is the junction temperature factor, T=14 at 125C; S is the voltage stress factor, S=0.42 at 0.6 < ks<0.7; C is contact construction factor, C=1; Q is the quality factor, Q=0.7 for JANTXV; E is the environment factor, E=6.0 at ground fixed. So its reliability is

PCV , I =

VCE ,0iL

p ,Diode = 0.12 Failures / 10 6 Hours


One module contains 4 IGBTs and one diode, so reliability per module will be

PCV , D

p ,Module = 2.08 Failures / 10 Hours


We take the fault tolerance into account, with the Markov Reliability Model, the MTTF per phase is MTTF = 0.5095

0 2 2 rCE iL 1 + M (t ) sin 2 t dt 0 2 2 V i r i 2 2M M = CE ,0 L (1 + ) + CE L ( + ) 2 4 2 4 3 V i 1 M (t ) = F ,0 L sin t d t + 0 2 2 2 rF iL 1 M (t ) sin 2 t dt 0 2 2 V i M r i 2 2M = F ,0 L (1 )+ F L ( ) 2 4 2 4 3 PCV = 18 ( PCV ,I + PCV , D )

sin t

1 + M (t ) dt + 2

p ,Module

i.e. 244,963 Hours, and the whole cascade inverters MTTF will be 81,654 Hours. E. Reliability Comparison The calculated data above shows that traditional CMI presents longest lifetime with more than 16 years, and the quasi-Z source CMI presents over 9-year MTTF, because the former has more fault tolerance with more modules (10 modules) than the latter of 7 modules, while the transformerless 2-Level inverter has shortest lifetime with only 6.9 years. In addition, we should notice that the quasi-Z source CMI has the ability against accidental shoot-through fault, which will enhance the system reliability. V. POWER LOSS COMPARISON In this section, we only take the power loss of power switches and diodes into account for comparison. Other passive components, such as inductor, capacitor, and transformer, are not considered here. A. Power Loss For Transformer-less 2-Level Inverter The switching loss can be calculated by [18], [19]
V dc i L V ref i ref where Vdc is the dc link voltage and iL is the peak value of the ac line current assumed to be sinusoidal. The switching energies provided by datasheets are given for a certain reference voltage Vref and current iref, and fs is the switching frequency. For the IGBT CM200HG-130H, EON=1.5 J/P, EOFF=1.2 J/P, EOFF,D=0.7 J/P, fs=1 kHz, Vref= 3,600 V, iref=200 A. The PV panel will output the maximum power 1 MW at the designed maximum voltage, so for each IGBT Vdc=4,529 V, iL=197 A, as a result the switching loss is 24,088 W. For the conduction loss, we can calculate it by PSW = 18 f s ( E ON , I + E OFF , I + E OFF , D )

where VCE,0=3.5 V, VF,0=3.5 V, rF=0.006 , rce=0.00625 , is the load current's angular frequency, M(t)=Msint is the modulation function. Therefore, the conduction loss is PCV=5,016 W. Thus at full power, the IGBTs and diodes of inverter will have a total loss of 29,104 W, i.e. around 2.91 % of output power. Similar calculations can be done when the PV panel outputs the minimum power around 10%, at the minimum voltage 6,795 V, the switching loss will be 1,202 W, and the conduction loss with 404 W. The total power loss is 1,607 W, i.e. around 1.61% of output power. B. Power Loss For 2-Level Inverter with Step-up Transformer The switching loss can be calculated by PSW = 6

f s ( EON ,I + EOFF ,I + EOFF ,D )

Vdc i L Vref iref

For FZ600R65KE3, EON=5.2 J/P, EOFF=3.4 J/P, EOFF,D =2.4 J/P, fs=1 kHz, Vref= 3,600 V, iref=600 A. PV panels will output the maximum power 1 MW when its voltage Vdc is 4,529 V, and load current peak value iL=590 A. The switching loss will be 25,978 W. With VCE,0=2.5 V, VF,0=2 V, rF=0.0025 , rce=0.0024 , the conduction loss will be PCV=6(481.6+174.1) =3,934 W The IGBTs and diodes of inverter will have a total power loss of 29,912 W, i.e. 2.99% of output power. When the PV panel outputs the minimum power around 10%, at the minimum voltage 2,265 V, the switching loss will be 1,297 W, and the conduction loss will be 276.7 W. Then the total power loss is 1,573 W, i.e. around 1.57% of output power. C. Power Loss For Traditional Cascade Multilevel Inverter Carrier phase-shift PWM is used in the calculation. The switching loss of one module is V i 4 PSW = f s ( EON ,I + EOFF ,I + EOFF ,D ) dc L Vref iref

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For FF200R12KT3, EON=15 mJ/P, EOFF=25 mJ/P, EOFF,D =17 mJ/P, fs=1 kHz, Vref= 600 V, iref=200 A. When the PV panel outputs 1 MW, Vdc=800 V, iL=197 A, the switching loss of one module will be 94.96 W. With VCE,0=0.7 V, VF,0=0.8 V, rF=0.0033 , rce=0.005 , the conduction loss of one module will be PCV=4 (26.82+61.91) =354.93 W Thus for 1 MW output power, the IGBTs and diodes of the inverter will have a total loss of 13,497 W, i.e. 1.35% of output power. Similar calculations show when the PV panel outputs the minimum power around 10%, at the minimum voltage 400 V, total power loss is 734.76 W, i.e. around 0.73% of output power. D. Power Loss For Quasi-Z Source Cascade Multilevel Inverter Each module includes 4 IGBTs and their anti-parallel diodes, and one diode in Z-source network. The module power loss can be calculated in two parts: 1) H-bridge power devices loss, 2) diode loss of Z-source network. 1) H-Bridge Power Devices Loss There are two states, i.e. traditional active states and shoot-through state. a) Traditional Active States The switching loss of one module is V i 4 PSW = f s ( EON , I + EOFF , I + E OFF , D ) dc L Vref iref The conduction loss of one module will be V i 1 + M (t ) D PCV , I = CE ,0 L sin t ( ) dt + 0 2 2 2 2 rCE iL M t D 1 + ( ) sin 2 t ( ) d t 0 2 2 2 2 VCE ,0iL r i M 2M D = (1 + D) + CE L ( + ) 2 4 2 4 3 4 V i 1 M (t ) D PCV , D = F ,0 L sin t ( ) dt + 0 2 2 2 2 rF iL 1 M (t ) D sin 2 t ( ) dt 0 2 2 2 2 V F , 0 iL M r i 2 M D = (1 D) + F L ( ) 2 4 2 4 3 4

Vdc i L1 Vref iref The conduction loss will be calculated by PSW ,s = 4 f s ( EON , I + EOFF , I )
2 PCV , Is = 4(VCE ,0iL1 D + rCE iL 1D + 2 rCE iL D ) 8

2) Diode loss of Z-source network The diode conduction loss will be Mi PCV , D = VDF ,0 [2iL1 (1 D ) L ] + 2 1 D 2 8(1 D) 2 rDF iL iL1 [8iL1 + iL ] rDF 2 Its reverse recovery power loss will be 4 f E V (i i ) PCV ,DR = s rec dc L1 L I FM VR where Erec=40m J/P, rDF=0.0025 , VDF,0=1 V, IFM=200 A, VR=500V. Following up the aforementioned calculations, when a maximum power of 1 MW is outputted, the IGBTs and diodes of the inverter will produce a power loss of 10,960 W, at around 1.1% of output power. Similarly, when the PV panel outputs the minimum power around 10%, at the minimum voltage 400 V, total loss is 1,305 W, at around 1.3% of output power.
E. Power Loss Comparison From the calculated data above, it can be seen that the CMIs present the low IGBT and diode-related power loss in four inverters, and the quasi-Z source CMI has a lowest power loss at full power. Two-level inverters demonstrate higher power loss than the CMIs, and they require a filter to deal with the low-frequency harmonics, which adds to volume, weight, and cost. Moreover, the transformer of 2level inverter topology is also a killer of efficiency and cost. The CMIs, including traditional and quasi-Z source structures, only need very small filter, due to their multilevel structure. The former will output 21-level phase voltage (41level line-line voltage) and voltage pulse frequency with 10 kHz, and the latter outputs 15-level phase voltage (29-level line-line voltage) and voltage pulse frequency with 7 kHz. Therefore, the output voltages are almost pure sinusoidal waveforms, and the filter will be very small if need. Even though the quasi-Z source CMI requires inductors, their power losses are little. The CMIs are good at the localized MPPT, because the 1-MW PV panels are separated into 30 groups for the traditional CMI, 21 groups for the quasi-Z source CMI, which can minimize the PV power loss from the partial shading. Each group of PV panels can harvest its maximum power independently, and the shading PV panels will not affect the other PV panels power collection. However, the two-level structure presents a lowest MPPT efficiency, because of its PV array consists of mass PV panels connected in series and parallel, and every PV panel shading will affect all of PV array and decrease the power generation.

PCV=4(PCV,I+PCV,D) For FF200R12KT3, EON=15 mJ/P, EOFF=25 mJ/P, EOFF,D =17 mJ/P, fs=1 kHz, Vref= 600 V, iref=200 A. At the maximum power 1 MW, Vdc=800 V, iL=197 A, iL1=59.5 A, there is no shoot-through required, with VCE,0=0.7 V, VF,0=0.8 V, rF=0.0033 , rce=0.005 . b) Shoot-through State During this period, one module has the shoot-through switching loss by

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VI.

COST COMPARISON

VII. CONCLUSIONS This paper proposed a MW-scale quasi-Z source CMI for application to PV power system, through combining the advantages of quasi-Z source inverter and cascaded multilevel inverter. The quasi-Z source CMI has a balanced and constant dc-link voltage, even though each PV panel voltage varied in a wide range, which minimized the inverter KVA rating. Four PV inverter topologies were compared in their reliability, power loss, and cost, based on 1 MW example design. The comparison results demonstrated that the traditional and quasi-Z source CMIs are better at the application to MW-scale PV inverters, than the 2-level inverters. Moreover, the quasi-Z source CMI has additional advantages, when compared to traditional CMI, in its higher efficiency and lower cost. It is noticeable that quasi-Z source CMI will save one-third the power modules of traditional CMI. Also it can handle the accidental shoot-through fault, which will enhance system reliability. In overall, it can be projected that future utility-scale MW PV inverters will adopt modular, scalable, and direct grid access approaches, such as traditional and quasi-Z source CMI structures. Research trends will be towards resolving the associated issues, such as high frequency common-mode voltage and leakage ground current, voltage potential impact on solar PV panels causing potential induced degradation, MPPT power efficiency, Z-source network parameter optimization, etc. High voltage and high power silicon carbide (SiC) devices will contribute the efficiency increasing of MW-scale PV inverters, but presently it is still expensive. If the 6-inch wafer is applied in mass production, the SiC device cost will be reduced to practical application level. The combination of SiC devices and CMIs will lead to more efficient MW PV inverters. REFERENCES
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In this section we will calculate the rough cost of each inverter. The cost of components is estimated through DigiKey price and previous empirical data. A. Cost Estimate of 2-Level Inverter without Transformer 6500-V/200-A IGBT costs around $1100 per each, the total cost will be $110018, i.e. $19,800. 820-F/400-V electrolytic capacitor costs around $4.5 each, total cost will be $4.53624, i.e. $3,888. Filter costs around $5,000. Therefore total cost is $28,688, i.e. $0.0287/W. B. Cost Estimate of 2-Level Inverter with Transformer 6500-V/600-A IGBT costs around $1800 per each, the total cost will be $18006, i.e. $10,800. 820-F/400-V electrolytic capacitor costs around $4.5 each, total cost will be $4.51269, i.e. $3,726. Transformer costs around $20,000. Filter costs around $1,600. Therefore total cost is $36,126, i.e. $0.0361/W. C. Cost Estimate of Traditional CMI 1200-V/120-A IGBT costs around $100 per each, the total cost will be $100430, i.e. $12,000. 820-F/450-V electrolytic capacitor costs around $7.2 each, total cost will be $7.222430, i.e. $10,368. Filter costs around $700. Therefore total cost is $23,068, i.e. $0.0231/W. D. Cost Estimate of Quasi-Z Source CMI 1200-V/120-A IGBT costs around $100 each, total cost will be $100421, i.e. $8,400. 1200-V/200-A Diode costs around $50 each, total cost will be $5021, i.e. $1,050. 820-F/350-V electrolytic capacitor costs around $4 each, total cost will be $44221, i.e. $3,528. 470-F/250-V electrolytic capacitor costs around $2.1 each, total cost will be $2.11521, i.e. $661. Inductor costs around $10021=$2,100. Filter costs around $700. Therefore total cost is $16,439, i.e. $0.0164/W. E. Cost Comparison The estimated cost shows that the 2-level inverter with step-up transformer has the highest cost, because of the expensive transformer and filter. The transformer-less 2level inverter is also expensive due to high-price IGBTs and filter. The traditional CMI significantly reduces the cost when compared to the 2-level inverters, because its IGBTs and filter are much cheaper, even though the capacitor cost will be higher than that of 2-level inverters. The most economic topology is the quasi-Z source CMI, and it has a lowest cost, because it uses around two-thirds the modules of traditional CMI, also low ripple current rms value requires fewer capacitors and then lower capacitor cost.

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