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B. Burger, P. Zacharias Institut fr Solare Energieversorgungstechnik (ISET) e.V. Knigstor 59, D-34119 Kassel, Germany, Tel. +49 561 7294-142, Fax: -100 G. Cramer SMA Regelsysteme GmbH Hannoversche Strae 1- 5, D-34266 Niestetal, Germany, Tel. +49 561 9522-0, Fax: -100 W. Kleinkauf Universitt Gh Kassel, Institut fr Elektrische Energietechnik (IEE) Wilhelmshher Allee 71-73, D-34109 Kassel, Germany, Tel. +49 561 804-6344, Fax: -6512 ABSTRACT: The electricity supply in remote areas without public utility is very important worldwide, particularly in developing and threshold countries. This is an ideal application for isolated or off grid hybrid power supply systems. ISET developed a completely new bi-directional battery inverter with a rated power of 3.6 kW for such systems in cooperation with SMA Regelsysteme GmbH. Power ranges from 3.6 kW to 33 kW can be established with the parallel connection of inverters in single phase and three phase systems due to the modular design of the battery inverter. All power producers and consumers are coupled at the AC line in these modular systems. Keywords: Hybrid - 1: Stand-alone PV Systems - 2: Inverter - 3 inverter must therefore be able to operate it in all four quadrants. This requires the control of voltage, frequency, active power and reactive power of the AC voltage of the battery inverter. With appropriate coupling of three devices a three phase power supply is possible and by the direct parallel connection of several inverters at a phase an increased power will be achieved (in development). For simple configurations the battery inverter is able to take over the battery management and load management. The DC voltage is controlled to provide a best possible battery handling, with respect to temperature dependent and current dependent voltage limits, the execution of regular total charge cycles and the adaptation of the charging algorithms to the battery type and the application conditions. Additionally the state of charge of the batteries is calculated and displayed. The following requirements for battery inverters in modular structured island systems can be fulfilled: Operating modes: Voltage control - current control - parallel operation, Modular expandability, Extendibility for 1 and 3 phase island grids, Intelligent battery management for longest battery life: Charging and discharging control, regular full charging State of charge display Load management for simple basic configurations of small systems and High efficiency, also in the partial load range with low stand by losses. To create a flexible applicable device, closed loop control and local management system (operational control) are taken over by its own processor. This allows the integration of a fast closed loop control and a complex management into the new battery inverter. The fast control allows the required operation modes and a parallel connection of inverters. The management system takes over the

1. INTRODUCTION The supply of small, peripheral consumers in the power range from 2 to 30 kW, which cannot be attached to a public grid, is worldwide, in particular in the developing and threshold countries, from large relevance. This is an almost ideal application for isolated or off grid photovoltaic power supply systems. The experiences with such systems have shown that these systems should be not only very reliably, economical and robust, but above all modularly structured and therefore easily subsequently expandable [1]. Also the connection of diesel generator sets and small wind energy systems should be possible in a simple manner. Only a simply structured and flexible system design for these photovoltaic power supply systems will enable a wide spread application. On the basis of these requirements, the ISET in cooperation with SMA and with promotion of the German Federal Ministry BMWi developed the completely new battery inverter Sunny Island with a nominal output power of 3.6 kW. The usage of advanced microprocessor technology in combination with new power electronic circuit concepts provides a simply applicable and expandable system engineering for the power supply of remote areas.


The central component of such a modular supply system is a battery inverter with the product name Sunny Island [2],[3]. The AC output of the inverter must provide constant voltage and frequency for the consumers. A lead acid battery is used as energy buffer. Intelligent management and control algorithms integrated in the device enable it to supply not only different consumers but also to connect different generators, e.g. string inverters, small wind energy converters or diesel generator sets. The battery

battery management, enables a limited load management and makes communication interfaces available for optional management devices. Figure 1 shows a block diagram of the battery inverter. The battery and the AC output are connected via circuit breakers. There are 8 relay contacts available for the following tasks: Starting a generator and connecting it to the island grid Switching of wind energy, consumers, utility and dump load Automatic control of the fan for the battery room and an optional electrolyte circulation pump.

and reaches already after approximately 1 ms again its desired value. A further improvement of the dynamics would be possible only with a higher DClink voltage, since the inverter here already operates as control in the delimitation. This would increase however the losses of the power electronic components, so that the efficiency would be reduced.
Ch1: Vbat Ch2: Vlink Ch3: Vgrid Ch4: Igrid

63 A DC battery e.g. 60 V fan circulation battery temp. generator voltage generator current 3-phase synchronization

16 A AC island grid 230 V, 50/60 Hz

closed loop control management system display

generator start generator connect wind energy consumers utility dump load
RS485 Powerline

Figure 4: Load branch with 2 kW If the output of the inverter is short circuit, an additional closed loop control for the choke current limits the output current of the inverter to the maximum current, which the power semiconductors can process. This current is higher than 60 A resulting in the fact that the inverter is able to trip normal circuit breakers of Class A with a rated current of 16 A. Figure 5 shows a measured short circuit. During the short circuit the voltage Vgrid is nearly zero and the current Igrid rises to the current limit. After approximately 15 ms the circuit breaker trips and the voltage rises again on its desired sinusoidal value. Thus a selective protection is possible by circuit breakers in the island system just as in the public grid.
Ch1: Vgrid Ch2: Igrid


Figure 1: Block diagram of the battery inverter 2.1 Circuit of the static inverter Figure 2 shows the power electronic circuit of the battery inverter. A bi-directional Cuk converter changes the battery voltage, which depending upon number of cells and charge can be between 40 V and 80 V, into a regulated DC-link voltage of 380 V. The HF transformer provides a electric separation between battery and grid, so that the battery is potential free. By the high frequency of 16.6 kHz the transformer is substantially lighter and smaller than a comparable transformer for 50 Hz. To the DC-link a single phase inverter with L-C-L filter is connected, which generates the sinusoidal voltage for the island grid. Since both, the Cuk converter and the inverter operate bi-directional, the static inverter can charge and discharge the batteries.
= ~
battery 60 V
L1 S1

L N PE single phase island grid

bidirectional DC-DC converter

C1 Tr S2 C2

DC-link 380 V
L2 S3 C3 S4

inverter 3.6 kW / 4 kVA

L3 S5

L5 C4



Figure 2: Circuit of the static inverter 2.2 Closed loop control For the control of the Cuk converter a state control with overlaid closed loop PI control is used for DC-link voltage control. The digital closed loop control operates at the half clock frequency of the hardware, i.e. with 8.3 kHz. Figure 4 shows the behavior of the closed loop control during a load branch with 2 kW. The voltage Vgrid (channel 3) has only a short drop after switching

Figure 5: Short circuit over a 16 A circuit breaker 2.3 Management system The management system is responsible for all functions, which do not have to be processed faster than in one second. These are above all communication over the serial interfaces and the user interface via keyboard as well as the graphic display. Additionally the management determines the operating mode. The following operating modes are implemented:


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2.3.3 Three phase operation In the three phase operation mode three inverters operate with 120 offset, so that a three phase current supply system is established. Synchronization is done with a digital interface. 2.3.4 Parallel operation In the parallel operation mode several inverters operate synchronized on one phase, so that the available output power is increased to a multiple of 3.6 kW. 2.4 Battery management The battery management is responsible for the charging and discharging control of the battery. It calculates the desired value for the charging voltage and is able to start an additional generator over relay outputs, in order to charge the batteries additionally to the PV power. When the battery has a low state of charge, a low priority load can be disconnected from the grid by another relay. In the case of a fully charged battery, a dump load will be connected or the PV power will be disconnected or short circuited. Additional relays are available for controlling a fan for the battery room and for the pump of an electrolyte circulation system. For the calculation of the state of charge of the battery an algorithm is integrated, which uses a balance of ampere-hours combined with a calculation of losses and multilevel full charge recognition. Also an adapting current-voltage model of the battery is used to recalibrate the state of charge when the battery is not fully charged [4]. For the current-voltage model the linear correlation between the open-circuit voltage and the state of charge is used. The correlation is determined in phases after a full charge by means of the then well known ampere-hours balance. This is important, since the correlation between open-circuit voltage and state of charge for different battery types can be very different. Thus it becomes possible in most PV systems, the amperehour balance not only to recalibrate after full charges but practically each night, when the battery is discharged only with small currents. By the definition of a lower open-circuit voltage for the end of discharging additionally the ampere-hours capacity of a battery can be measured. For the determination of the battery capacity therefore no capacity test is necessary. Figure 6 shows the measured values of charge and discharge current, cell voltage and

charging current discharging current

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Figure 6: Charge of the battery in the process of one week


A simple single phase island grid can be established with one battery inverter and a lead acid battery. The closed loop control will enable the increase of output power by parallel connection of up to three battery inverters at one phase. In order to feed solar electricity into the island grid, conventional PV inverters e.g. string inverters from the Sunny Boy series from SMA can be used. Furthermore the integration of wind or hydroelectric power plants is possible with static inverters or single phase generators. For the increase of security of supply usually still a backup generator (e.g. Diesel generator) is used. Often these generators are already installed and can be integrated into the hybrid system. If a public grid is available from time to time as in many developing countries, then it can be attached also to the inverter. It operates then like an UPS and supplies the consumers in the case of power failures. Figure 7 shows the structure of a single phase island grid with the battery inverter Sunny Island and with different generators and consumers.

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wind- or hydro power plant photovoltaic modules PV-string= inverter ~ (e.g. Sunny Boy)

combustion engine generator set

asynchronous generator


1~ / 230 V 50 Hz / 60 Hz

battery inverter Sunny Island

~ =
M electric consumers

batteries 60 V

Figure 7: Example of the structure of a single phase modular island grid

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2.3.2 Current controlled operation In the current controlled operation mode the inverter synchronizes to an external voltage supply. This can be a public grid or a generator. Depending on the given direction of current, the battery can be charged in this operating mode or the grid can be supported.

2,3 cell voltage 2,2 2,1 2 1,9 1,8 1,7 1,6

state of charge, temperature

2.3.1 Voltage controlled operation In the voltage controlled operation mode the output voltage of the inverter is regulated to its RMS value. The output frequency can be defined with a resolution of 10 mHz, the RMS value of the voltage with a resolution of 100 mV. A change from 50 Hz to 60 Hz can be made easily by software.

battery temperature as well as the calculated state of charge and desired value of the charging voltage over one week. The desired value of the charging voltage was not achieved here, since the battery was charged only with solar energy.
2,6 2,5 charging voltage cell voltage state of charge battery temperature 100 90


The smallest three-phase system is a 11 kW power supply consisting of three Sunny Island each connected to a different phase. The three phases are synchronized via RS485 while the operating data is additionally sent over this link. Three phase systems make it much more easy to connect diesel or wind generators as these mostly are only available in three phase versions. Larger island systems consist of 6 or 9 inverters with two or three connected to each phase, all in all resulting in a total output power of 33 kW. The Sunny Islands can be freely connected to any battery set, i.e. several Sunny Island can use one or several sets of batteries. Although it is recommended to establish one single battery set for three phase systems. Figure 8 shows the structure of a three phase island system in principle and Figure 9 the prototype of a three phase hybrid system in the DeMoTec centre of ISET. First demonstration plants will be built on the Greek island Kythnos [5].

Figure 9: Prototype of a three-phase hybrid system in the DeMoTec centre of ISET The ISET and SMA thank the German Federal Ministry BMWi for the promotion of the project "modular battery inverter: development of a battery for the modular system technology in PV systems" and the European Commission for the promotion of the projects PV-MODE, MORE an HYBRIX.

wind turbine photovoltaic modules PV-string= inverter ~ (e.g. Sunny Boy)


generator set

= ~

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consumers 3~ / 400 V

[1] W. Kleinkauf, J.Sachau: Components for Modular Expandable and Adaptable PV Systems, 12th European PV Solar Energy Conference, Amsterdam, April 1994 B. Burger, G. Cramer, A. Engler, B. Kansteiner, P. Zacharias: Battery Inverter for ModularlyStructured PV Power Supply Systems, 2nd World Conference and Exhibition on Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion, Hofburg Congress Center, Vienna, Austria, July 1998 B. Burger, P. Zacharias, G. Cramer, W. Kleinkauf: Hybrid Systems Easy in th Configuration and Application, 16 European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, Glasgow, United Kingdom, May 2000 M. Rothert, B. Willer: Mglichkeiten und Grenzen der Ladezstandsbestimmung von Bleibatterien in PV-Anlagen, 13. Symposium Photovoltaische Solarenergie, Kloster Banz/Staffelstein, 1998 P. Strauss, D. Mayer, C. Trousseau, S. Tselepis, P. Romanos, F. Raptis, J. Reekers, M. Ibrahim, R.-P. Wurtz, F. Perez-Spiess, M. Bchler: Stand-Alone AC PV Systems and Micro Grids with New Standard Power th Components, 16 European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, Glasgow, United Kingdom, May 2000

battery inverter Sunny Island batteries 60 V

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Figure 8: Example of the structure of a three phase modular island network [3]

Due to the modular conception of the battery inverter, power ranges from 3.6 kW to 33 kW can be achieved by the parallel connection of inverters in single phase and three phase systems. Additionally it is possible to extend existing systems after the unit construction or to extend single phase systems to three phase systems. The application of this modular battery inverter will reduce planning and system costs for hybrid island grids. The use of stand alone hybrid grid systems on the basis of the battery inverters "Sunny Island" will also enable a power supply in remote areas without mains connection for the first time and therefore will reduce the consumption of resources for the electric energy production. So even lower social classes have access to electricity for lighting, household and for small workshops. The consistent modularity of this new system oriented concept allows a commercial use and self supporting retail structures (leasing of the systems or sale of the produced electricity), since the components (battery inverter, batteries, diesel sets...) do not have to be adapted for individual applications, but are universally applicable.