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4th International Conference on Power Engineering, Energy and Electrical Drives Istanbul, Turkey, 13-17 May 2013

A Photovoltaic System Model For Matlab/Simulink

Cemal Keles, B. Baykant Alagoz, Murat Akcin, Asim Kaygusuz, Abdulkerim Karabiber
Electrical Electronics Engineering Department
Inonu University
Malatya, Turkey

Abstract Solar energy maintains life on the earth and it is an developed a novel model of PV module using Matlab/Simulink
infinite source of clean energy. There is an increasing trend for and this model was verified for an experiment structure. Author
the use of solar cells in industry and domestic appliances because also underlined the effect of solar irradiation on cell
solar energy is expected to play significant role in future smart temperature, which made the output characteristics more
grids as a distributed renewable source. Optimal and large-scale practical [4]. Altas et al. developed Matlab/Simulink PV model
integration of renewable sources into smart grid is possible by the using basic circuit equations of the PV solar cells including the
aid of computer simulations and hence there is a growing effects of solar irradiation and temperature changes. They
demand for computer modeling and simulation of renewable tested the model response in a DC load and an inverter
sources. This study presents a generalized photovoltaic (PV)
simulation [5].
system simulation model for Matlab/Simulink simulation
environment. The proposed model is based on a behavioral cell There is an increasing trend for domestic use of hybrid
model for modeling solar radiance to electricity conversion and renewable sources, preferably wind and solar combination.
an electrical driver interface for implementing electrical Hence there is need for simulation models of the wind turbine
characteristic of power limited systems in power simulations. The and PV modules to efficiently design and integrate these
model is efficient in computational complexity and it is easy to sources to power systems. Nowadays, smart grid researchers
configure for representing wide-range of PV installations. demand wind turbines and PV panel models to deploy in their
power system simulations as distributed generators and explore
Keywords-solar energy; photovoltaic cell; photovoltaic module;
impacts of distributed generation on power distribution. These
simulink; smart grid
models should also represent the transient responses of
renewable energy sources for stability and reliability analyses.
Matlab/Simulink provides a user-friendly, modular and
Among several renewable energy resources, energy visual simulation environment for the transient analysis of
harvesting from the photovoltaic (PV) effect is the most power electronics. This environment facilitates design and
essential and sustainable way because of abundance and easy- simulation of the power systems and it is very convenient to
accessibility of solar radiant energy around the earth. In spite of perform transient analyses for the academic and industrial
the intermittency of sunlight, solar energy is widely available proposes. Although there are wind turbine models in
during daylight and it is free to use. Recently, photovoltaic SimPowerSystems library of Simulink, a general purpose PV
system is recognized to be in the forefront in renewable electric module component working in conjunction with power
power generation because it can generate direct current electronic circuit are still needed [1]. The PV modules used for
electricity without heavy environmental impacts and transient simulations of large-scale renewable source
contamination [1]. integration should not only be reconfigurable for wide-range of
PV modules are the fundamental power conversion unit of panel models but also present low-computational complexity in
a PV generator system. The output characteristics of PV grid simulations due to the memory and calculation time
modules depend on the solar insolation, the cell temperature limitation of computers. Recent PV models have low
and the output voltage of the PV module [2]. Since PV computational complexity [5] or electrical characteristics well
modules exhibit nonlinear electrical characteristics, designing suiting for PV modules [1].
and simulation of this system require reliable PV modeling. This study aims to developed a general propose Simulink
Moreover, mathematical modeling of PV module is PV module. This module can be easily reconfigurable for the
continuously updated to enable researcher to have a better electrical response of PV panels in a wide spectrum. For this
understanding of its working [3]. propose, a modified sigmoid function was used to approximate
Many researchers have been proposed several models for electrical characteristics of PV panels, empirically. This gains
Matlab/Simulink in the literature. Tsai et al. proposed a model the module considerable degree of freedom to represent diverse
taking sunlight irradiance and cell temperature as input PV systems. The proposed PV model is composed of a
parameters [1]. Salmi et al. proposed a model of PV cell based behavioral PV block, based on electro-physics of the PV cell,
on the fundamental circuit for a solar PV cell considering the and a power-limited electrical driver module, characterized by
effects of physical and environmental parameters [2]. Tsai the modified sigmoid function. The behavioral PV block

978-1-4673-6392-1/13/$31.00 2013 IEEE

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4th International Conference on Power Engineering, Energy and Electrical Drives Istanbul, Turkey, 13-17 May 2013

calculates voltage and current of PV module for a given solar Rs

radiance and panel temperature. Then, the power-limited PV cell
electrical driver block receives the voltage and current values Icell IL
Id Ish
from the behavioral PV block and it injects an electrical power
to electrical load appropriate to I-V characteristics of PV cells.
Iph Rsh Vcell RL


Fig. 1 shows the top-level block diagram of the proposed

PV module. The first block, reffered as to behavioural PV
Figure 2. Equivalent electrical circuit model of PV cells.
model, performs theoritical calculations based on physics of
the PV cell and it yields nominal values of voltage and current The Equation (1) describing output current of the non-ideal
generated by the panel. The second block electrically drives to PV cell was derived using Kirchhoffs current law as follows
the electrical load according to the limited power I-V [11]:
characteristics. Depending on the load value, the voltage drop
over load (VL) and the load current ( ) are adjusted according I cell = I ph I d I sh (1)
to maximum power provided by PV panel. The maximum
The overall current, which the PV cell can provide, was
power point (MPP), namely the peak power, is limited by
formulated by Equation (2), where G and Gr are active and the
approximately Pm VmIm.
reference radiation, Tc and Tcr are module temperature and
reference temperature of the module, respectively [11].
PV Simulation Model Producers usually provide electrical specifications of the PV
VL module at standard conditions, namely solar radiation of 1000
Behavioural Power-limited IL W/m2 and cell temperature of 25oC. These values correspond to
PV Model Electrical Driver Load Gr and Tcr, respectively [11].

I cell = I r + (Tc Tcr ) + 1 I sc (2)
Figure 1. Block diagram of PV simulation model. Gr Gr
The parameter Isc represents short circuit current of the
A. Behavioral PV Modeling module and is the temperature coefficient of short circuit
The physics of the PV cell is very similar to that of the current. The voltage of PV cell was formulated by Equation (3)
classical diode with a pn junction [6]. When the junction and Equation (4) [11], where are temperature coefficient of
absorbs light, the energy of absorbed photons is transferred to open circuit voltage.
the electron-proton system of the material, creating charge
carriers that are separated at the junction [7]. An ideal PV cell Vcell = (Tc Tcr ) Rs I + Vr (3)
is assumed to have no series loss and no leakage to ground.
However, due to its non-ideal structure in nature, there are G G
I = (Tc Tcr ) + 1 I sc (4)
some losses occurred in real PV cells. Therefore, these losses Gr Gr
are expressed by using resistances in equivalent circuits. Fig. 2
shows an equivalent electrical circuit modeling the complex Herein, Rs is used to represent the voltage drop at the output
physics of the PV cells [8-10]. The behavioral model of the of the PV cell. The parameters Ir and Vr are reference values
proposed PV model is based on this equivalent electrical circuit taken from I-V curve [12, 13].
model. Current source, Iph, which is a current produced by the
photons, is constant at a fixed value of radiation and PV module is formed by connecting PV cell in series and
temperature. The shunt resistance, Rsh, is used to represent the parallel to each other. In this case, the output current and
shunt-leakage current, Ish. The series resistance, Rs, is used to voltage of PV module is expressed in Equation (5) and
represent the voltage drop at the output. PV power conversion Equation (6), respectively.
efficiency (PPCE) is sensitive to small changes at Rs, but the Vm = N scVcell (5)
PPCE is not sensitive to changes at Rsh. The small increase in
Rs significantly reduces the output of the PV module [8]. In the I m = N pc I cell (6)
equivalent circuit, the current, Icell, delivered to the external
load equals the current IL and voltage over the load equals the Herein, Vm is the output voltage, and Im is the output
voltage of PV cell, Vcell [2,9]. Current and voltage of PV panel current. Nsc and Npc are expressed numbers of series and
depends on load value and presents nonlinear, power limited parallel connected PV cells, respectively [11]. Simulink
electrical characteristics. schema of behavioral PV model, using the Equation (2) and
Equation (3), is demonstrated in Fig. 3.

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4th International Conference on Power Engineering, Energy and Electrical Drives Istanbul, Turkey, 13-17 May 2013

Vr u[1]*Nsc 1
Peak point (MMP) of power-limited I-V characteristic is
Vm apparent in Fig. 4(b). The parameter is used to adjust
beta*(Tc -Tcr)
decline of panel voltage Vg against the increase of load current
25 Rs
Ref. temperature

u[1]*Npc 2 Fig. 5 shows simulink model of the power limited
Deltai Im
electrical driver. Equation (7) governs the voltage controlled
2 u[1]/1000 u[1]*alfa Ir voltage source that is connect to load via an internal resistor,
Ri. Here, the internal resistor Ri resistance between metal
G/Gr alfa*G/Gr

contacts of silicon layers and panel output ports. Ci represents

1 Isc internal capacitance caused from capasitive structures in the
panel and it is used to configure transient responce of PV
Figure 3. Behavioral PV model simulink schema. module. Internal resistor and capacitor defines a time constant
for the modeling transient regime of PV panel, which can be
expressed as =(Ri //RL)Ci. The load current is measured from
B. Power-limited Electrical Driver Modeling
the output of panel and provides a feedback for Equation (7).
In order to implement PV panel power limits, calculated by
the current and voltages values of behavioral model, in the
power system, there is need for an electrical driver component s

that exhibits an I-V characteristic complying with the response

+ +
- 1

of PV panels.
1 temperature Vm
temperature 1


Power-limited electrical driving of the electrical loads is 2 radiation Im

radiation eu
implemented in the form of modified sigmoid function given PVModul 2

by Equation (7). This function can approximate to limited 20 V-

power I-V characteristic of PV panels as illustrated in Fig. 4(a)

and Fig. 4(b). Maximum power point of the Equation (7)
approximates to value of Pm VmIm, where Im and Vm are Figure 5. The simulink model of electrical driver.
calculated by the behavioral model. Voltage drop between
surface of PV silicon layers (Vg) is adjusted according to the
load current IL. When IL current exceeds the theoretical PV III. PV MODULE SIMULATION EXAMPLES
current Im, Vg voltage exhibits sharp decreases and thus limits
This section illustrates PV module simulation examples.
the power injection to the load as in Fig. 4.
The module parameters were largely configured according to
Vm Solarex MSX60 specifications for solar radiation of 1000
Vg = (7) W/m2 and cell temperature of 25oC. Parameter settings are
1 + e ( I L I m ) listed in Table 1.
0.6 Module Parameters Values
Reference Voltage (Vr) 17.1 V
Reference Current (Ir ) 3.5 A

Power-limited Working Region of Short circuit current temperature coefficient () 3.10-3 mA/oC
Electrical Driver Open circuit voltage temperature coefficient () -73.10-3 mW/oC
0 Short circuit current (Isc) 3.8
Serial resistance (Rs) 0.47 Ohm
0.5 1 1.5 Internal resistor (Ri) 1 Ohm
V Internal capacitance (Ci) 1.10-2 F

0.6 Pm VmI m MMP

A. Tests for Constant Resistive Load
Fig. 6 shows a Simulink simulation of the proposed PV
0.4 module connected to a DC resistive load. The load resistor RL

was set to 4.5 Ohm for working nearby MPP. A reference

radiation (G) of 1000 W/m2 and module temperature (Tc) of
25oC were used in the simulation. The internal resistor Ri and
0.5 1 1.5 capacitor Ci were set to 1 Ohm and 10-2 F, respectively.
Transient response of PV module, when connected to the
Figure 4. I-V characteristic in (a) and P-V characteristic in (b) by Equation resistive load, is illustrated in Fig. 7 (a), (b), and (c). Voltage
(7) for Im=0.5, Vm=1.5, and =20. Maximum power point is indicated by and current of the load are settled to its steady state value after
roughly 0.05 second transient regime. Settling time can be

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4th International Conference on Power Engineering, Energy and Electrical Drives Istanbul, Turkey, 13-17 May 2013

adjusted by Ci and Ri. Adjustment of transient response of PV
module is, particularly, useful for voltage and power stability
analyses of power systems supplied by PV panels. Power
injected the load by PV module was reached to its steady state 30
operating conditions after development of transient regime.

This allows more realistic analysis of PV panels in power

system simulation.
Discrete, 10
Ts = 5e-005 s.

pow ergui
1 temperature V+
Current 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
2 radiation V-
radiation MMP
Simulink PV Model 40

Figure 6. Simulink simulation of PV module for a DC load.

(a) 30

3 20

2 10

5 10 15
1 VL
Figure 8. (a) Power injection versus load resistance characteristics.
0 Maxsimum power point is tracked at 4.5 Ohm load resistance. (b) Power
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 injection versus of load voltage characteristics. Maxsimum power point is
Second tracked at 14 Volt load voltage.
14 B. Solar Power For Three Phase AC Power Distribution
12 Simulation
10 Simulink simulation of a PV array supplying three phase
8 AC distribution system is shown in Fig. 9. The DC/AC

converter with pulse wide modulated three arms IGBT


inverter causes DC instability due to periodical switching of
PV module current. In order to reduce negative impacts of
2 possible reverse current of DC/AC converter on PV module, a
diode is used. Output of PV module is connected to DC/AC
0 0.1 0.2 0.3
Second converter to supply 1000 Watt resistive loads per phase. In
(c) order to draw adequate power from PV module, 10 numbers of
series and 5 numbers of parallel cells structure (Nsc =10 and
Npc =5) were configured for the PV module.
Ts = 5e-005 s. Va+

30 powergui

i V-
+ -
20 Current Measurement

25 T V+
T DC V +
10 B Ra
1000 G V- DC V - C

0 G
DC/AC Converter
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 PV Model Rb

Figure 7. Current [A] in (a), Voltage [V] in (b) and Power [W] in (c) of PV
module for a load resistance of 4.5 Ohm. Rc

Figure 9. Simulink simulation of a PV array supplying three phase AC

Fig. 8 (a) and (b) demostrates power injection of PV module distribution.
for various values of load and load voltages. MMP points
indicates power limits of PV modules. This is very useful for Fig. 10 (a) and (b) show DC voltage (VP) supplied from
testing MPP tracking methods in Matlab/Simulink. PV module and average magnitude of the power (PL) drawn

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4th International Conference on Power Engineering, Energy and Electrical Drives Istanbul, Turkey, 13-17 May 2013

from PV module. Fig. 10(c) shows line to neutral AC voltages estimates voltage and current potential of PV panel for a given
measured from resistive loads. After a transient regime solar radiation (G) and module temperature (Tc) conditions.
continuing 0.1 second, average power drawn from PV module The powerlimited electrical driver implements a relevant
goes into steady regime and settles roughly at 3000 Watt. electrical response on the load. The proposed PV module can
(a) be employed in transient analysis of power system supplied
4000 with PV panels. It is also useful for testing MPP tracking
3000 Nowadays, solar energy integration in microgrids [14, 15]
is becoming primary concern of power system industry.
Modeling renewable energy sources for a large-scale power
2000 Transient system integration simulation is more important today,

Steady State Regime


because these simulation tools will be a part of optimal design
and intelligent management process.

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