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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

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Investigation of multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverter

topologies and control strategies used in photovoltaic systems
Mohammad Barghi Latran n, Ahmet Teke
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Çukurova University, Adana, Turkey

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The application of photovoltaic (PV) as a source of electrical energy in the distributed generation (DG)
Received 6 March 2014 systems are gaining more attention with the advances in power electronics technology. The one of the
Received in revised form key technologies in the PV based DG systems is grid connected inverter that is utilized to interface PV
30 August 2014
power systems into the utility grid. Multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverters (ML-MFGCIs) are
Accepted 12 October 2014
Available online 31 October 2014
new breed of power converter used in large scale PV applications and have superior advantages such as
lower switching power dissipation, lower harmonic distortion and lower electromagnetic interference
Keywords: (EMI) outputs. ML-MFGCIs perform the high quality power from PV systems and provide flexible
Multilevel multifunctional inverter functionality with improved power quality (PQ), voltage and reactive power support and increased
Compensation of power quality problems
capability of the auxiliary service for the utility grid. This paper presents a detailed analysis of various
Distributed generation
ML-MFGCI configurations for 1-phase and 3-phase systems and control strategies to compensate the
Grid connected photovoltaic systems
different PQ problems. Almost 100 papers including the practical applications and recent research
studies on ML-MFGCIs are reviewed and analysed.
& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
2. Impact of inverter configurations on reliability, efficiency and cost of grid connected PV systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
3. Multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverter (ML-MFGCI) topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
3.1. Voltage source ML-MFGCIs (VSML-MFGCI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
3.1.1. Neutral point clamped MFGCIs (NPC-MFGCI). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
3.1.2. Flying capacitor MFGCIs (FC-MFGCI). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
3.1.3. Cascaded H-bridge MFGCIs (CHB-MFGCI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
3.1.4. Recent advances in VSML-MFGCI topologies used in PV systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
3.2. Current source ML-MFGCI (CSML-MFGCI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
4. Modulation techniques used in ML-MFGCI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
4.1. Sinusoidal pulse width modulation (SPWM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
4.2. Hysteresis technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
4.3. Selective harmonic elimination PWM (SHE-PWM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
4.4. Space vector PWM (SVPWM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
5. Classification of ML-MFGCIs based on control techniques. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
6. Analysis and discussions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
7. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (M. Barghi Latran), (A. Teke).
1364-0321/& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
362 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

Nomenclature Varrays the voltage produced by the PV arrays in full-bridge

configuration with an auxiliary circuit
A the transformer turn ratio in Hybrid full-bridge ML- Vc the sub-module DC link voltage in Modular MFGCIs
MFGCIs Vcsum sum of capacitors voltages in 11-level CHB-MFGCI
C the number of capacitors in neutral point Vdc the DC link voltage in MFGCIs
clamped MFGCIs Vg the grid voltage
Cd the number of clamping diodes in neutral point Vinv the inverter output voltage in full-bridge configura-
clamped MFGCIs tion with an auxiliary circuit
Fd the per phase number of freewheeling diodes in VMP the voltage at the midpoint of the capacitive dividers
neutral point clamped MFGCIs in Diode-clamped with second capacitive divider
IL the load current VPV sum of capacitors voltages in MFGCIs
Inref the reactive current in CHB-MFGCI S the separate PV array (DC sources) in cascaded H-
IPV the PV current bridge MFGCIs
M the series connected modules number in cascaded H- T the number of selected transformers in sequence in
bridge MFGCIs each phase for Hybrid full-bridge ML-MFGCIs
N the numbers of output voltage levels in MFGCIs

1. Introduction Multilevel multifunctional inverter (ML-MFI) is one of the most

important technologies in PV based electrical power generation.
IN recent years, the interest in installing more renewable ML-MFI technology is based on the synthesis of the AC voltage
energy sources (RES) to generate electricity power has rapidly from several different voltage levels on the DC bus. When the
increased. A number of reasons such as environmental concerns, number of voltage levels on the DC side increases, the produced
electricity business restructuring, the fast developments of small output waveform includes more steps, generating a staircase wave
scale power generation technologies and micro-grid related sys- and low harmonic distortion which closes the sinusoidal wave-
tems can explain this trend. There are mainly two types of RES to form. ML-MFI topologies are increasingly used in large scale PV
generate electricity which are the most prevailing, the wind and system applications due to their many advantages such as low
solar energy. Solar energy has the advantage of being utilized power dissipation on power switches, low harmonic contents and
almost in every place with the appropriate placement of PV arrays low EMI outputs. The selected switching method to control the
compared to the wind energy. There are two main types of PV inverter will also have an effective role on functionality of inverter
system: grid connected PV system and standalone PV system. such as transferring the active power from PV generator to utility
Nowadays, the application of grid connected PV systems is widely grid as well as reactive power compensation, grid current harmo-
preferred over standalone PV systems [1–7]. The capacities of PV nic and unbalance mitigation and control the voltage profile at PCC
power plants are continuously growing with decreased installa- [18,19].
tion costs and financial supports. Due to the continuous increase of This paper focuses on the multilevel multifunctional grid
PV installations, it is required to develop new control strategies for connected inverters architecture, taking into account how to
the convenient operation and management of new power grid interconnect PV systems in the utility grid with improved PQ at
embedded with PV systems to keep up or improve the system the both user and grid side. This paper is therefore organized as
quality, energy efficiency and reliability [8–11]. follows: First, the impact of inverter configurations on reliability,
In practice, the output active power generated by PV arrays is efficiency and cost of grid connected PV systems are presented in
inherently unstable. Moreover, the utility is concerned due to the Section 2. Section 3 illustrates the basic concepts and recent
high penetration level of grid connected PV systems. This may cause advances in ML-MFGCI topologies. Sections 4 and 5 describe the
a hazardous situation for network in terms of PQ, voltage regulation modulation and control technique of MFGCI in PV systems,
and stability issues. Thus important requirements for PV systems are respectively. Finally, in Section 6, analysis and discussion on ML-
the fulfilment of standards on PQ, acoustic noise limitations and MFGCI technologies in PV systems are discussed, which is followed
electromagnetic compatibility as well as safety and protection by concluding remarks in Section 7.
requirements. Several standards such as EN61000-3-2 [12], IEEE
1547 [13], the U.S. National Electrical Code (NEC) 690 [14], and
IEC61727 [15] must be obeyed when connecting PV systems to utility 2. Impact of inverter configurations on reliability, efficiency
grid. These standards deal with issues such as PQ level of PV output and cost of grid connected PV systems
power, detection of islanding operation, grounding, etc. and define
the features and structure of the present and future PV modules [16]. Grid connected PV systems typically have four possible inverter
PV systems can be controlled efficiently to improve the system scenarios: (a) module inverter, (b) string inverter, (c) multi-string
operation and PQ at point of common coupling (PCC) with recent inverter and (d) central inverter as shown in Fig. 1. The central
advances in power electronics. The main purpose of PV systems is inverter can be used in PV power plant larger than tens kWp with
to generate active power. However, active power filter function- lower cost and higher efficiency. Major disadvantages of central
ality, voltage and reactive power support can be achieved with the inverter configuration are the use of high voltage DC cables;
use of multifunctional inverter in PV systems. Inverters used in common Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and module
grid connected PV systems can be connected to the utility grid in mismatch. Compared to central inverter, string inverter configura-
series or shunt. However, due the compensation of some PQ tion can achieve MPPT separately, leading to maximum total
problems such as harmonics, unbalance and reactive power are energy yield. Whereas, there are mismatches in the PV panels
directly concerned with the currents, shunt type topology is connected in series. For this reason, the module inverter config-
widely preferred because it can effectively injects compensating uration is developed that acts on a single PV panel with a single
currents into the PCC [1,17]. MPPT. The main drawback of a module inverter configuration is
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 363

provide ancillary services, such as low voltage ride through,

reactive power control, frequency control and mitigate PQ pro-
blems in order to ensure a reliable, stable and efficient power
conversion from PV systems. From the view of auxiliary function-
alities of ML-MFGCIs in PV systems, they can be classified as
illustrated in Fig. 1. Because the grid connected inverters (GCIs) are
usual current controlled voltage source inverters (VSI), the aux-
iliary services of ML-MFGCIs to enhance PQ on current issues can
easily be embedded in. However, the functionalities for voltage
issues are hardly achieved using the current controlled-VSIs GCIs.
ML-MFGCIs inject the active power from PV systems to utility grid
as well as can act as (i) active power filter (APF), (ii) power factor
corrector (PFC), (iii) current unbalance compensator (CUC), (iv)
voltage sag/swell/interruption/unbalance compensator (SSIUC)
and so on [33].

Fig. 1. Grid connected PV systems: (a) module inverter, (b) string inverter, 3. Multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverter
(c) multi-string inverter, (d) central inverter.
(ML-MFGCI) topologies

the lower overall efficiency. Multi-string inverter configuration is In medium and high power applications, ML-MFGCI technology
an intermediate configuration between the string inverter and the is a very efficient alternative as the heart of interfacing systems for
module inverter configurations. In this configuration, each PV integration of PV systems into utility grid. The superior harmonic
string can be controlled independently, so flexible with a high spectrum, decreased voltage rating for the switches, decreased
overall efficiency [20]. common mode voltages and lesser voltage changes (dv/dt) are
The cost reduction of PV energy systems is one of the most important advantages of ML-MFGCIs. However, the complexity of
important considerations, which affects the installation capacity of control method rises compared to the traditional two-level inver-
overall PV power plant. Generally, a Levelized Cost of Energy ter. As illustrated in Fig. 2, ML-MFGCIs can be classified based on
(LCOE) index is adopted to quantify and compare the cost for the power circuit structure to mitigate PQ problems: (1) voltage
different PV systems [21,22]. Ref. [23] presented an overview of source ML-MFGCIs; (2) current source ML-MFGCIs.
LCOE indicators in PV power plants and impact of the plant’s
capacity factor on LCOE. Ref. [24] developed a method to optimize
and evaluate inverter configurations for grid connected PV sys- 3.1. Voltage source ML-MFGCIs (VSML-MFGCI)
tems to show that how the inverter configurations and their
operating strategy would impact on lifetime energy yield, LCOE In this section, the classification of VSML-MFGCIs used in PV
considering the PV array scale, system cost, environmental condi- systems is presented.
tions and inverter reliability and efficiency.
Ref. [25] shows the effects of inverter failures in PV system’s 3.1.1. Neutral point clamped MFGCIs (NPC-MFGCI)
lifetime and investigates the suitability of several inverter config- NPC-MFGCI inverter is principally comprised of double two-
urations based on criteria of life cycle costs and total lifetime level VSIs stacked one over the other. As shown in Fig. 3(a), the
energy output. Ref. [26] proposed a method to suggest, among a negative point of the upper inverter and the positive point of the
list of commercially available system devices, the type and optimal lower one are assembled together to constitute the new phase
numbers of system devices, PV module and installation details of output, while to make the neutral point N, the initial phase
inverters. Ref. [27] focused on the impact of a more efficient outputs are connected via two clamping diodes. Each power
inverter of PV system on LCOE and balance of system cost, switch has to block solely half of the entire inverter voltage;
analysing real grid connected PV system, transformerless inverter hence the power rating of the inverter can be doubled. NPC-MFGCI
applications, bipolar and unipolar PV array configurations. topology can be expanded to more output voltage levels and
The optimal solution to reduce LCOE index in large scale PV higher power rates by adding additional power switches and
system is the use of multilevel inverters instead of classical clamping diodes to be able to block higher voltages [34].
inverters. In Ref. [28], authors proposed new multilevel inverter Here the name diode clamped makes more sense, since there
configurations with less power switches for reduction LCOE in PV are more voltage-level clamping nodes than only the neutral N
systems. In order to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of a [34]. The clamping diodes need completely different voltage
PV system, the use of transformerless PV multilevel inverters is an ratings for reverse voltage blocking because each triggered switch
alternative of increasing interest as stated in [29]. However, this is required to block a voltage level of Vdc/(n  1). The number of
topology has some problems related to the galvanic connection diodes needed for each phase can be calculated as (n  1)  (n  2),
between the grid and the PV generator (e.g. efficiency degradation where n represents the levels of inverter. In DC-MFGCI, if n is
and safety problems). In some studies, such as Ref. [30], the assumed as the numbers of levels, the number of capacitors (C)
authors focused on to eliminate the injection of DC current to used in diode clamped side can be calculated by Eq. (1). The per
utility grid by transformerless multilevel inverters in PV systems. phase number of freewheeling diodes (fd), and the number of
Ref. [31] proposed a technique for the optimal design of the power clamping diodes (cd) can be determined by Eqs. (2) and (3).
section and output filter of grid-connected PV inverter. In most PV
C ¼ n1 ð1Þ
systems, DC–DC converter is used for boosting the low voltage
output of PV panels as well as MPPT. In some studies, such as [32],
f d ¼ 2ðn  1Þ ð2Þ
authors suggested the multilevel inverter for boosting the output
voltage with self MPPT capability to eliminate DC–DC converter
(extra cost for LCOE in PV system). Additionally, ML-MFGCIs cd ¼ ðn  1Þ  ðn  2Þ ð3Þ
364 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

Fig. 2. Classification of ML-MFGCI based on power circuit structure.

Fig. 3. Power circuit configuration of Three-level (a) NPC-MFGCI, (b) FC-MFGCI, (c) CHB-MFGCI.

DC-MLIs are efficient in applications operating at fundamental NPC-MFGCI and FC-MFGCI topology is that FC-MFGCI has a
frequency switching. However, the number of clamping diodes modular structure and can be more easily extended to perform
needed is quadratically associated with the number of output more voltage levels and higher power ratings [35].
voltage levels [35]. Ref. [36] proposed a new configuration of FC-MFGCI based
shunt active power filter to increase the number of output voltage
levels and as a result, decrease the output voltage THD with
3.1.2. Flying capacitor MFGCIs (FC-MFGCI) reduced ratings and losses of flying capacitors and power switches
FC-MFGCI topology is similar to the NPC-MFGCI expect that the for a PV system. The increase in the number of combinations
clamping diodes are replaced by flying capacitors. Fig. 3(b) shows required to generate a desired voltage level and reduction in the
a three-phase three-level FC-MFGCI topology where the load voltage ratings of capacitors and stored energy in the flying
cannot be directly connected to the neutral of the inverter to capacitors as well as the switching losses are the other advantages
generate the zero voltage level. Instead, the zero level is achieved of this type of inverter [37]. The 7-level full bridge 3-phase FC-
by connecting the load to the positive or negative side through the MFGCI adopted for PV-APF system is shown in Fig. 4. In this
flying capacitor with opposite polarity respect the DC-link [34]. In configuration, only one DC link is used for three single-phase FC-
n-level structure, NPC-MFGCIs require (n  1) DC link capacitors MFGCIs and the number of voltage levels is doubled. As a result,
and (n 1)  (n  2)/2 auxiliary capacitors per phase comparing to the required DC capacitors are decreased from six to one and also
DC-MFGCI topology. The most important difference between the only one three phase transformer is enough to inject the currents.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 365

bridge inverter corresponds to two voltage source phase legs,

where the line to line voltage is the inverter output voltage.
Therefore, a single H-bridge inverter can generate three different
voltage levels. To avoid DC-link capacitor being short circuits, each
leg has two possible switching positions. The zero level can be
obtained connecting the phase outputs to the positive or the
negative sides of the inverter.
The number of output phase voltage levels in a CHB-MFGCI
with ‘s’ separate PV array (DC sources) is ‘n ¼ 2s þ 1’. The duty cycle
for each voltage level can be adjusted so that each DC source and
bridge shares the same load. If m is assumed as the series
connected modules number, the number of output voltage levels
in each phase can be calculated with Eq. (4). The switching states
of n level CHB-MFGCI can be calculated by Eq. (5).
n ¼ 2m þ 1 ð4Þ

sw ¼ 3n ð5Þ

The series connection of H-bridge inverters with one redun-

dant switching state for each H-bridge inverter, inherently intro-
duces more redundancies. So, CHB-MFGCI provides more
redundancies than the NPC-MFGCI and FC-MFGCI topologies.
These switching redundancies and the natural modularity of
CHB-MFGCI enable the fault tolerant operation [34,35,38].

3.1.4. Recent advances in VSML-MFGCI topologies used in PV systems

A numerous of new topologies such as three-level active NPC
(3L-ANPC), the modular multilevel inverter (MMI), the assisted
modular multilevel inverter (MMI), the CHB fed with unequal dc
sources or asymmetric CHB, the hybrid NPC, and the cascaded
matrix converter (CMC) have been studied in the recent literature.

A. Three-level active NPC-MFGCI (ANPC-MFGCI): The main draw-

back of 3L-NPC topology is the unequal sharing of losses
between the inner and outer power switches in each inverter
leg. Since the power switches are cooled with separate heat
sinks and cooling systems, it results in an asymmetric distribu-
tion of semiconductor junction temperature, which affects the
cooling system design and limits the maximum power rate,
switching frequency, and output current of the inverter. This
problem can be solved by replacing the neutral clamping
diodes with clamping switches to provide a controllable path
for the neutral current and thus the loss distribution among the
switches of the inverter can be controlled. With clamping
diodes in the 3L-NPC, the current freewheels through the lower
or the upper clamping diode, depending on the polarity of
current when the zero voltage level is produced. However, with
clamping switches, the current can be forced to flow through
the upper or the lower clamping path [39,40]. These additional
devices are called active neutral clamping switches, as shown
in Fig. 5.
B. Magnetic coupled MFGCIs (MC-MFGCIs): Fig. 6 shows a single-
phase PV system with a magnetic coupled inverter as described
in [41]. The inverter composed of three full-bridge inverter
with connected of their midpoints to a primary of the trans-
formers. The secondary of the transformers are connected in
series. Due to different turns ratios of each transformer and the
ability of each full-bridge to make three different voltages
across the primary winding (þVdc,  Vdc and 0) the voltage at
the AC terminals can be comprised of 27 levels. The most of the
transferred power (80%) is managed by main inverter with low
Fig. 4. Power circuit configuration of 7-level FC-MFGCI.
switching frequency, which active and reactive power can be
3.1.3. Cascaded H-bridge MFGCIs (CHB-MFGCI) controlled independently.
CHB-MFGCIs are composed of the series connection of two or The advantage of this circuit is the generation of almost sine
more single phase H-bridge inverters as shown in Fig. 3(c). Each H- wave output accomplished with low switching frequencies. A
366 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

Fig. 8. Power circuit configuration of DVS-MFGCI.

Fig. 5. Power circuit configuration of 3-level ANPC-MFGCI.
through inductors, leaving one unconnected phase per inverter,
which together form the three output phases of the overall
multilevel topology. Since it is based on three phase inverters
rather than single phase H-bridges at the output compared
with the CHB-MFGCI, it requires fewer cells and features a
transformer with less secondary windings. It also has less DC
link capacitors and power switches, although it introduces
inductors and has a lower number of output levels. This
configuration is not scalable to obtain more voltage levels; it
presents a viable solution to supply AC motors and transfor-
mers, particularly when the DC source can be split into two
insulated parts, such as PV arrays. The presence of two isolated
Fig. 6. Power circuit configuration of 27-level MC-MFGCI. DC sources avoids the circulation of common mode currents in
dual-inverter configuration. In the case of a single DC source,
common mode currents can be prevented either by an addi-
tional three phase common mode reactor or by the application
of a proper Space Vector Modulation algorithm. In this last
case, common mode voltages are not generated by the inverter
but at the price of lower DC bus voltage utilization [39,43–46].
E. Hybrid NPC-MFGCIs (HNPC-MFGCI): This topology consists of an
NPC-MLI operated using a grid switching frequency and a two-
level standard inverter as shown in Fig. 9. The general purpose
of the first inverter is to inject the generated power from PV
system to utility grid, and also the second inverter controls the
quality of injected power. The losses of the system are reduced,
mainly the switching losses, because the first inverter switches
few times per cycle, and the second inverter switches with very
low currents [47,48].
Fig. 7. Power circuit configuration of 19-level ACHB-MFGCI. F. Modular MFGCIs (M-MFGCI): Fig. 10 shows the single-phase
circuit of the M-MFGCI, which has two arms including the right
and left arm, with each arm having N sub-module (SM),
major drawback of the circuit is the need for three equivalent resistor, and one buffer inductor. DC link of the M-
transformers. MLI is connected to high voltage sources depending on the
C. Asymmetric CHB-MFGCIs (ACHB-MFGCI): If the CHB-MFGCI operation purpose of the inverter. The output of the inverter is
topology, as shown in Fig. 3(c), is fed by unequal DC voltage the connection point of the right and left arms. Each SM has
ratios between cells, some or even all voltage level redundant two states (“ON” and “OFF”), and the corresponding output
switching states can be eliminated, maximizing the number of voltage of the SM is Vc or 0. The capacitor will charge or
different voltage levels generated by the inverter. This topology discharge during the period of the “ON” state of the SM
permits the switching of the higher power cells at fundamental depending on the direction of Ism [49].
frequency, reducing the switching losses of the inverter and G. Hybrid full-bridge ML-MFGCIs (HFB-MFGCI): In HFB-MFGCI, each
thus improving efficiency. However, this advantage is also its phase consists of two full-bridge inverters and their corre-
important weakness since the power is not evenly distributed sponding transformers, which have a series-connected second-
among the inverter cells, mitigating the input current low order ary as shown in Fig. 11. The levels of output voltage will be
harmonics elimination effect of the multipulse rectifier system different with the different turn ratios of the transformers. In
of the conventional CHB [39,42]. 19-level ACHB-MFGCI config- Fig. 11, the full-bridge inverter called main inverter circuit
uration is shown in Fig. 7. which associates the turn-ratio (1:3a) transformer and the
D. Dual ML-MFGCIs (D-MFGCI): As illustrated in Fig. 8, two of the other full-bridge inverter called auxiliary inverter circuit, how-
phases of each VSI are tied to the other two of the phases ever, the output voltage waveform of each phase is 9-level.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 367

Fig. 9. Power circuit configuration of HNPC-MFGCI.

Fig. 11. Power circuit configuration of HFB-MFGCI.

Fig. 12. Power circuit configuration of Diode-clamped with second capacitive

Fig. 10. Power circuit configuration of M-MFGCI. divider.

In other cases, the number of output voltage levels by a During the positive half cycle of grid voltage, which is when S1
combination of cascaded transformers could be normalized and S2 are on, the voltage V 1  MP2 ¼ V in  V MP2 . When S2 and D5
by n ¼ 3T; n ¼ 1; 2; 3. Here, T means the number of selected conduct, (V 1  MP2 ) equals to (V MP1  V MP2 ). During the negative
transformers in sequence in each phase. The turn-ratio of Trf.1x half-cycle, while S3 and S4 are on, (V 1  MP2 ) becomes
is 1:a, and others are determined by 3T order. Applying proper (V MP1 V in ). While S3 and D6 conduct, V 1  MP2 ¼ V MP1  V MP2 .
switching functions to this topology, the final output level can The injection of a DC current into the utility grid is eliminated
be generated by the rate of an integer to an input voltage by connecting the neutral grid terminal to the midpoint of the
source (Vdc). Attractive features of this topology are summar- second capacitive divider (MP2), which controls the average
ized as: (1) generation of high-quality output voltage waves; voltage of MP2. The efficiency of this topology is similar to the
(2) lower switching frequency; (3) high-performance filtering single-phase three-level DC-MLI, considering that the same
effects due to the leakage reactance of cascaded transformers; power switches are used.
(4) low dv/dt stresses imposed on switching devices [50]. I. Full-bridge configuration with an auxiliary circuit: The multilevel
H. Diode-clamped with second capacitive divider: The topology in inverter configuration consists of a full bridge inverter with an
Ref. [30] is based on the single phase three level DC-MLI. The auxiliary circuit as shown in Fig. 13. PV arrays are connected to
topology adds a second capacitive divider to which the neutral the inverter by a DC–DC boost converter which is used to
grid terminal is connected (Fig. 12). The voltage at the midpoint increase inverter output voltage Vinv to keep greater than √2 of
of the additional capacitive divider (MP2) is controlled and the utility grid voltage Vg to guarantee the power injection from the
non-injection of the DC to the grid is assured. The topology has PV arrays into utility grid [19]. Because PV arrays are used as
the positive features over DC-MLI; mainly, the non-generation input voltage sources, the voltage produced by the arrays is
of variable common mode voltage and reduced the current known as Varrays. Varrays is boosted by a DC–DC boost converter
ripple. to exceed √2Vg. As shown in Fig. 13, an auxiliary circuit
368 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

A switch number comparison related to the output level

number (n) is presented between different inverter types in
Table 1.

3.2. Current source ML-MFGCI (CSML-MFGCI)

This current source inverter (CSI) based topology has the

advantages of its inherent boost characteristics, longer lifetime of
the storage unit, inherent fault protection capability and direct
control of the output current [54,55]. The reason of the CSI not
being as popular as VSI is that inductors employed in CSI as energy
Fig. 13. Power circuit configuration of full-bridge with auxiliary circuit. storage devices have higher conduction losses and therefore
compared to DC link capacitors of VSI have lower energy storage
efficiency [56,57]. However, with the development of supercon-
ducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) technologies the problem
related to conventional inductors are going to be solved and hence
CSIs can be considered appropriate for high power application.
Moreover, the recently-introduced reverse blocking IGBT has
eliminated the need for series diode and thus making CSI a good
alternative. Recently, the interest of researchers for multilevel
inverters based on CSI for various applications has noticeably
increased [58]. In this section, the classification of CSML-MFGCI
used in PV systems is presented.

A. Dual current source ML-MFGCs (DCS-MFGCI): Fig. 15 shows

single-line diagram of the grid-connected PV system based on
DCS-MFGCI. DC link current of each inverter unit is controlled
Fig. 14. Power circuit configuration of AM-MFGCI.
independently, whereas control of AC-side current is per-
formed according to a combined current control scheme. Each
PV system operates at the maximum power by their own MPPT.
Table 1
Each PV array is interfaced with the corresponding inverter
Comparison of main switches requirement through DC-link inductor LDC. The proposed multilevel struc-
between n-level ML-MFGCI. ture with control scheme is capable of operating equal and
unequal insolation/irradiation level [58].
Inverter type Switch number
B. Boost current ML-MFGCI (BC-MFGCI): Fig. 16 shows single-line
DC-MFGCI 2ðn  1Þ diagram of the grid-connected PV system based on BC-MFGCI.
FC-MFGCI 2ðn  1Þ
M-MFGCI 2ðn  1Þ
MC-MFGCI 4log 3 ðnÞ
D-MFGCI 4log 3 ðn 2Þ þ 4
AM-MFGCI 2log 3 ðnþ 2Þ þ 2

composed of four diodes and a switch S2 is used between the

DC-bus capacitors and the full-bridge inverter. Proper switch-
ing control of the auxiliary circuit can generate a half level
of PV supply voltage, i.e. þ Vpv/2 and  Vpv/2. With the help
of this topology, the output voltage can be produced with a
lower harmonic content and reactive power can be controlled
J. Assisted modular AM-MFGCI (AM-MFGCI): Fig. 14 shows the
configuration of PV based multilevel inverter, which composed
of PV modules, level modules and a standard H-Bridge module
and the inverter generates a 7-level output phase voltage.
However, by adding level modules to the system, the number
of output voltage levels can be increased. PV module consists of
PV arrays and a capacitor group. Depending on the increase of
the output level number, PV arrays are suitably connected in
series and PV module is expanded according to the number of
level modules. The output voltage level numbers can be raised
by adding the number of PV and level modules. This inverter
structure provides an advantage in point of decreasing of the
power switching number compared to other inverter types
[29]. Fig. 15. Power circuit configuration of DCS-MFGCI.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 369

BC-MFGCI structure allows a high power factor operation of a the decrease of the current slope in the circuit devices, with a
PV system, injecting a quasi-sinusoidal current into the grid, consequent reduction of conducted and radiated EMI. The BC-
with virtually no displacement in relation to the line voltage at MFGCI technique also allows adapting or minimizing current
the point of common coupling among the PV system and the waveforms harmonic content [59].
loads. The major appeals of using the CML technique are the
balanced current sharing among semiconductor switches and 4. Modulation techniques used in ML-MFGCI

The modulation techniques of ML-MFGCIs can be classified as

four categories as (i) SPWM, (ii) Hysteresis, (iii) Selective harmonic
elimination and (iv) SVPWM as shown in Fig. 17.

4.1. Sinusoidal pulse width modulation (SPWM)

In SPWM, a sinusoidal reference voltage waveform is compared

with a triangular carrier waveform to generate gate signals for the
Fig. 16. Power circuit configuration of BC-MFGCI. inverter switches. Power dissipation is one of the most important
issues in high power PV applications. The fundamental frequency
SPWM control method was proposed to minimize the switching
losses. The multi-carrier SPWM control methods also have been
implemented to increase the performance of multilevel inverters
and have been classified according to vertical or horizontal
arrangements of carrier signal. The vertical carrier distribution
techniques are defined as level shifted (LS-PWM), which includes
phase disposition (PD-PWM), phase opposition disposition (POD-
PWM) and alternative phase opposition disposition (APOD-PWM),
while horizontal arrangement is known as phase shifted (PS)
control technique. In fact PS-PWM is only useful for cascaded H-
bridges and flying capacitors, while PD-PWM is more useful for
NPC. Each of the mentioned multi-carrier SPWM control techni-
Fig. 17. Classification of ML-MFGCIs based on modulation techniques. ques have been illustrated in Fig. 18, respectively [19,39,60–62].

Fig. 18. Multi-carrier SPWM controls strategies: (a) PD, (b) POD, (c) APOD, (d) PS.
370 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

4.4. Space vector PWM (SVPWM)

The aim of the space vector modulation (SVM) is to determine

the appropriate switching states and their duty cycle according to
certain modulation scheme. SVM operates in a complex plane
divided in the six sectors separated by a combination of turn-on or
turn-off states of switching in the power circuit. The reference
vector is used to locate two adjacent switching-state vectors and
compute the turn-on time for each switch. Although with the
better reliability and perfect anti-jamming of digital control
technique, SVM is of slow response time caused by the inherent
calculation delay [63]. In order to solve this drawback, the
improvement of adopting deadbeat control [65] and a certain
oversize of the system reactive components are recommended
[66]. Fig. 19 shows the space vector diagram of a three-level
inverter with sector and subsectors.

Fig. 19. Space vector diagram of a three-level inverter with sector and subsectors.
5. Classification of ML-MFGCIs based on control techniques

Ref. [49] proposed an improved phase disposition PWM (PD- An advanced control technique is very critical for the efficient
PWM) for an M-MFGCI which is used PV system. This new operation of ML-MFGCI system. ML-MFGCI control technique
modulation method is based on selective virtual loop mapping calculates the current and voltage reference signals and deter-
(SVLM), to achieve dynamic capacitor voltage balance without the mines the switching sequence of inverter switches. There are
help of an extra compensation signal. The concept of virtual various control techniques and algorithms in the literature applied
submodule (VSM) is first established, and by changing the loop to ML-MFGCI systems. Frequency domain techniques, i.e. Fast
mapping relationships between the VSMs and the real submo- Fourier Transform, are not widely used due to large computation
dules, the voltages of the upper/lower arm’s capacitors can be well time and delay in calculating the reference signals [67]. Time
balanced. This method does not require sorting voltages from domain techniques use instantaneous derivation of compensating
highest to lowest, and just identify the MIN and MAX capacitor current or voltage signals. There has been a huge number of
voltage’s index which makes it suitable for a modular multilevel control techniques successfully applied to ML-MFGCIs in the time
converter with a large number of submodules in one arm. domain. Most common time domain control methods used in ML-
Compared to carrier PS-PWM, this method is more easily to be MFGCI are the instantaneous active and reactive power (also called
realized in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and has much as 3-phase pq theory) which is shown in Fig. 20 [68] and
stronger dynamic regulation ability, and is conducive to the synchronous reference frame method (also called as 3-phase dq
control of circulating current. theory) which is shown in Fig. 21 [69]. These methods convert the
current and voltage signals in ABC frame to stationary reference
4.2. Hysteresis technique frame (pq theory) or synchronously rotating frame (dq theory) to
extract the fundamental and harmonic quantities [67]. In pq
The switching signals are derived from the comparison of the theory, instantaneous active and reactive powers are calculated,
current error signal with a fixed width hysteresis band. This while, dq theory concerns with the current free of the source
technique has extreme robustness, good stability, fast dynamic and voltage. The active and reactive power concern with fundamental
automatic current limited characteristic. Some unsatisfactory fea- components (pq theory) and the fundamental component in
tures of this technique are producing varying modulation frequency distorted voltage or current (dq theory) are DC quantities in these
for the active power filter and difficulty in designing the input filters theories. ML-MFGCI controller based on instantaneous active and
to the possible generation of unwanted resonance on the utility grid. reactive power theory were studied in [29,33,36,41,50], pq theory
That the performance of active power filter affected by the phase has limitations when the source voltages are unbalanced and/or
current interaction is also a negative feature and the current distorted. The pqr theory is modified and referred as “pq0 theory”
coupling restrict the current control technique applied in the system to eliminate these limitations that were studied in [94,95].while
with insulated neutral. In order to overcome the intrinsic short- synchronously rotating frame (SRF) theory based controller were
comings, many improvements have been suggested [63]. studied in [49,58,70].
Double-loop dq control based on discrete Fourier transform
4.3. Selective harmonic elimination PWM (SHE-PWM) (DFT) and phase locked loop (PLL) method in CHB-MFGCI are used

SHE-PWM technique is based on fundamental frequency

switching method and dependent on the elimination of defined
harmonic orders. The principle of this method is to define the
switching angles of harmonic orders for eliminating and obtaining
the Fourier series expansion of output voltage. Basically, in SHE,
the Fourier coefficients or harmonic components of the predefined
switched waveform with the unknown switching angles are bring
to zero for those undesired harmonics, while the fundamental
component is kept to the desired reference amplitude. SHE is a
very attractive option for the application in three-level inverters,
because the equipment needs to operate at a very low switching
frequency to reduce the semiconductors losses [19,34,39,64]. Fig. 20. Control scheme of instantaneous active and reactive power theory.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 371

Fig. 21. Control scheme of synchronous reference frame.

Fig. 24. Control scheme of three-level NPC-MFGCI based on dual-loop current

control method.

Fig. 22. Control scheme of 7-level FC-MFGCI.

Fig. 25. Control scheme of EDPC based three-level NPC-MFGCI.

control loop, the fuzzy logic (FL) control and the proportional-
resonant (PR) control is applied, respectively. The switching
pattern generation is achieved using SVPWM technique.
Fig. 23. Control scheme of three-level NPC-MFGCI based on decouple control of the
active and reactive power. Direct Power Control (DPC) is based on the instantaneous
power theory and commonly used in control schemes of grid tied
inverters. Ref. [73] proposed an extended DPC (EDPC) for a three-
in PV systems to coordinate active and reactive power control [70]. phase NPC-MFGCI fed from PV system. DPC approach for inverter
In this method, DC voltage of each inverter module is controlled to makes possible to achieve unity power factor (UPF) operation by
track the reference by the PI controller. In Ref. [36], a modified directly controlling its instantaneous active and reactive power.
control strategy in accordance with p-q theory, PS-PWM method The other is a fuzzy logic controller, in the multi-DC-bus voltage
and predictive current control was proposed for FC-MFGCI which control loop, developed to provide active power command. To
is shown in Fig. 22. achieve UPF operation, the reactive power command is set to zero.
To keep the injected current from PV systems into the utility The proposed control scheme shows in Fig. 25.
grid sinusoidal and to achieve high dynamic performance with low Voltage oriented control (VOC) is based on SRF control method
total harmonic distortion (THD), a digital PI current control and commonly used in control of PQ compensators and interfaced
algorithm is used in NPC-MFGCI [51,52,71]. As shown in Fig. 23, inverters in DG systems. In Ref. [74], a modified version of VOC
the inverter control is based on a decoupled control of the active method and SVPWM technique have been applied to control the
and reactive power. DC voltage is set by a PI controller that 3-level NPC-MFGCI as shown in Fig. 26. With the proposed
compares the actual DC bus voltage and the reference voltage modification, the PV system operates as a shunt APF, a reactive
generated by the MPPT, and provides active current reference in a power compensator and a load’s current balancer simultaneously.
SRF attached at grid voltage vector. The other component of In this way, the PV system operates more efficiently compared to
current vector represents the reactive current and it can be kept the traditional PV systems and offers ancillary services to
at zero to maintain almost unity power factor. utility grid.
To generate the proper inverter reference currents based on the In Ref. [75], authors proposed a generalized reactive power
instantaneous reactive power theory, the dual-loop current control theory for a CHB-MFGCI used in PV system to generate the reactive
method are commonly preferred. As shown in Fig. 24, to generate current reference. Within the inverter’s capability, reactive power
reference currents in dual-loop current control method, Ref. [72] required by the loads is provided to enhance the grid PQ. To
uses the outer DC bus voltage control loop. In the inner current minimize harmonics and achieve zero error tracking, a hybrid
372 M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376

shown in Fig. 29. The control design is adapted to phase-shifted

and level-shifted carrier PWMs to share the control action among
the cascade-connected bridges to concurrently synthesize a multi-
level waveform and to keep each of the PV arrays at its maximum
power operating point.
Fig. 30 shows the control block diagram of a M-MFGCI which
proposed in Ref. [49], where Vdcref is the reference of the dc-link
voltage, Vdc is the dc-link voltage, Iqref is the reactive reference
current, VS(a, b, c) is the ac-side grid voltage and I(a, b, c) is the output
current of the M-MFGCI. Vdcref and Vdc are compared with each
other to generate the active reference current idref. The reference
voltage can be obtained by decoupled control, and the suppression
compensation signal for a circulating current should be added to it.
Meanwhile, it is no longer possible to balance the system capacitor
voltage dynamically by generating the proper compensation
signal. This approach avoids excessive compensation signal mutual
Fig. 26. Control scheme of VOC based three-level NPC-MFGCI. interference (which increases system stability) and provides a
possibility for circulating current suppression and satisfies high DC
voltage utilization ratio.
Ref. [80] proposed a FC-MFGCI which acts as both active power
generator and APF. Increase in the number of output voltage levels,
natural self-balancing of flying capacitors and dc link voltage and
lower power rating of components are the main properties of FC-
MFGCI inverter compared with traditional multilevel inverters.
Furthermore, a new control method based on instantaneous
Fig. 27. Control scheme of 11-level CHB-MFGCI.
reactive power theory and Predictive Current Control using mod-
ified PS-PWM modulation method has been presented and applied
to proposed APF. Also, maximum power of PV array has been
injected to system using a simple method for MPPT.

Fig. 28. The current and DC voltage control subsystems used in CHB-MFGCI

controller composed of a proportional controller and a repetitive

controller is applied to current control. The overall control diagram
is shown in Fig. 27. Inref, Vcsum, IL, VPV and IPV represent the reactive
current, sum of capacitors voltages, load current, PV output
voltage and PV current, respectively. The repetitive controller can
force periodic tracking error to approach zero asymptotically [76],
but the dynamic response is slow. So the hybrid controller is
applied, in which the proportional controller improves the
dynamic response and the repetitive controller improves the
accuracy in steady state.
In Ref. [77], the authors proposed a CHB-MFGCI for PV systems Fig. 29. Control scheme of 7-level CHB-MFGCI.
governed by a new integrated fuzzy logic controller (FLC). The
novelties of the proposed system are the use of a fully FLC (not
requiring any PWM switching-angle generator and PI controller)
and the use of an H-bridge power-sharing algorithm.
Ref. [78] suggested a control method that permits the inde-
pendent control of each DC-link voltage in CHB-MFGCI, enabling
the MPPT of each solar panel. The stable operation boundaries of
the inverter under unbalanced operating conditions, without any
additional controller are investigated. A new reactive power
controller (RPC) is also proposed that enhances the operating
range of the CHB-MFGCI inverter. The proposed RPC enables the
inverter to operate under unbalanced PV panel conditions, when
one panel becomes completely shaded. The overall control block
diagram is shown in Fig. 28.
Ref. [79] developed a control technique based on an energy-
sampled data model that enables the design of a linear discrete
controller in voltage loop for each array, providing the stability of
the system for the all range of PV array operating conditions as Fig. 30. Control scheme of 5-level M-MFGCI.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 373

6. Analysis and discussions Table 2

Abbreviations of ML-MFGCI configurations.
A traditional grid connected PV plant contains a large number
Abbreviation Description
of PV modules connected in series and parallel to constitute
strings and sub-arrays. The inverters are then connected to the VSML-MFCGI Voltage source ML-MFGCI
medium voltage (MV) electric grid through a power transformer. CSML-MFGCI Current source ML-MFGCI
The large scale PV plants can be further classified as centralized NPC-MFGCI Neutral point clamped MFGCI
ANPC-MFGCI Active neutral point clamped
and multi-string types. In centralized type, the central inverter DC-MFGCI Diode clamped MFGCI
performs a unique MPPT algorithm for all the strings and inter- FC-MFGCI Flying capacitor MFGCI
faces to the MV grid. In multi-string architecture, the strings are CHB-MFGCI Cascaded H-bridge MFGCI
connected to DC/DC converters that convert the PV string output ACHB-MFGCI Asymmetric cascaded H-bridge MFGCI
DVS-MFGCI Dual voltage source MFGCI
voltage into a common DC bus which feeds a central inverter that
MC-MFGCI Magnetic coupled MFGCI
interfaces to the MV grid. Two-stage converters allow the PV M-MFGCI Modular MFGCI
panels to operate over a wider voltage range than is possible with AM-MFGCI Assisted modular MFGCI
a centralized architecture and reduce losses due to panel mis- DCS-MFGCI Dual current source MFGCI
match and partial shading. On the other hand, DC/DC converter HFB-MFGCI Hybrid full-bridge MFGCI
HNPC-MFGCI Hybrid neutral point clamped MFGCI
increases the costs and decreases the conversion efficiency. BC-MFGCI Boost current MFGCI
Although both architectures use central inverters, grid connected
centralized architectures currently represent the state-of-the-art
for megawatt-scale PV plants due to their low cost-per-watt, easy (1) The available ML-MFGCIs are mainly experimental prototypes
maintenance and high conversion efficiency [81]. and their capacities are low. The trend in the industry is
As shown in Fig. 31, standard central inverters will continue to toward higher power ratings for ML-MFGCIs, because the ML-
be the most widely used inverter type in 2016 due to the growing MFGCIs cost per watt decreases as ML-MFGCIs power
demand for large commercial and grid connected projects, also the increases. Therefore, ML-MFGCIs with power ratings up to a
demand for turnkey substations is forecast to grow quickly in few megawatts may be offered to the commercial market.
emerging markets, since these products help speed up installation (2) The functionalities of ML-MFGCIs still need exploit. ML-MFGCI
times or simplify designs for large projects [97]. controls must be able to enhance grid reliability and power
Medium and high power multilevel inverters are optimal quality, and support grid voltage and frequency stability. With
solution for large scale grid connected PV systems. The multilevel the increase in PV penetration, future ML-MFGCIs for large
inverter not only achieves power generation tracking, but also can solar plants will need to incorporate several grid-control
complete the reactive, unbalance, and harmonic current compen- functionalities.
sation and named as multilevel multifunctional inverter. In the (3) Another trend, for the DC side of the ML-MFGCI, is the use of
central type PV plants without any DC–DC converter for MPPT, the higher system voltages to reduce wire costs and power losses.
new generation multilevel inverters act as maximum power tracer On the DC side, most large PV systems have been operating
to achieve high conversion efficiency. with a DC voltage limit of 1000 V. In order to increase cost
The evolution of ML-MFGCI in PV systems over the last years savings and efficiency, and accommodate technological
has resulted in several research, proven topologies and control advances in PV cells that allow for operation at 1500 V.
methods. There have many topologies and control strategies of Also researches may be able to improve their production
ML-MFGCIs for PV systems been well documented for different modeling results by accounting for the relationship between
capacities and auxiliary functionalities. Several abbreviations of inverter efficiency and DC input voltage. While this relation-
ML-MFGCIs based on the topology or application were described ship varies by topology, it is also product specific.
in Section 3 are presented in Table 2. These abbreviations can be (4) The elimination of the output transformer from ML-MFGCIs
used to emphasize the main features of MFGCIs more concisely systems not only reduces the cost, size, and weight of the
[67]. conversion stage but also increases the system overall effi-
The future ML-MFGCIs must evolve to meet the technological ciency. However, if the transformer is removed, the galvanic
advances of PV cells, semiconductor parts, magnetic components isolation between the PV generator and the grid is lost. This
and smart grid integration. ML-MFGCIs are expected to meet the may cause safety hazards in the event of ground faults.
following requirements, future trends and challenges: Furthermore, when no transformer is used, the ML-MFGCI
could inject direct current (DC) to the grid, causing the
saturation of the transformers along the distribution network.

However, the additional functionalities of available ML-MFGCIs

are still not perfect. Besides, it is hard to say which topology is
better than the others, and a further study on the topology theory
of ML-MFGCIs is essential necessary. Table 3 summarizes a
detailed comparison of different ML-MFGCIs topologies [33].

7. Conclusions

Multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverters play an

important role in distributed generation to integrate PV systems
into the utility grid. In recent research studies, novel control
algorithms and topologies for ML-MFGCIs interfaced with large
Fig. 31. Standard central inverters are currently the most widely used inverter type scale PV system are developed to optimize the energy conversion,
in the world [97]. to control the PQ of the utility grid, to perform low cost operation
Table 3
Technical aspects of different multilevel multifunctional grid connected inverters in PV systems.

Levels Switching
Utility Functionality Topology Control method Modulation strategy Capacity DC bus controller Reference
number frequency

APF, PFC CHB-MFGCI 7 – Adaptive SHE PI [86]

APF, PFC CHB-MFGCI 11 pq with PI and repetitive controller PS-SPWM 1 kHz 195 W PI [75]
a b
APF CHB-MFGCI 7 LS-PWM and PS-PWM – – [79]
PFC Full-bridge with auxiliary circuit 5 Digital PI current control algorithm SPWM 20 kHz 75 W – [51]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 13 – 1 kHz 10 kW – [85]
Calculation of witching
PFC AM-MFGCI 31 pq – – – [29]
PFC DC-MFGCI 3 – – 16 kHz 5 kW – [31]

M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376
DC-MFGCI with second capacitive
PFC 5 Digital PI current control algorithm Carrier PWM – 750 W – [52]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 5 PI current control algorithm PS-PWM 5 kHz – PI [89]
PFC Full-bridge with auxiliary circuit 5 Digital PI current control algorithm Carrier PWM 20 kHz – – [53]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 5 PI and PR current control algorithm – 5 kHz 2 kW – [90]
PFC ACHB-MFGCI 19 Average power control – 18 kHz – – [42]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 3 Dual-loop current controller Carrier PWM – 3.5 kW – [95]
pq based a fully FLC without any PWM and PI
PFC CHB-MFGCI 9 FLC base – 9 kW Not require [77]
PFC M-MFGCI 5 dq current control SVLM based on PD-PWM 2.4 kHz – PI [49]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 7 pq PS-PWM 3 kHz – Two PI [78]
PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 pq-DPC – – – FLC [96]
PFC BC-MFGCI 5 open-loop SPWM 3 kHz – – [87]
Phase Combination of VOC and
APF, PFC, Introduce new PWM
CHB-MFGCI 21 pq – 3 kVA PI [41]
SSIUC method
SSIUC-PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 FL based current control – 10 kHz, 1 kW DC voltage balancer [84]
APF, PFC, CUC CHB-MFGCI 5 pq (real power theory) Carrier PWM – – – [91]
APF, PFC DVS-MFGCI 3 PI base current control SVPWM 20 kHz – PI [44,45]
APF, PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 the pq theory (pq0-current control), SVPWM 5 kHz – SVPWM-PI [92], [93]
APF, PFC HFB-MFGCI 9 pq-current control method SVPWM – 13 kW AVR [50]
SHE-Hysteresis band
APF HNPC-MFGCI – Direct Current Control – – PI [47,48]
PFC NPC-MFGCI 5 Digital PI current control algorithm SPWM 4 kHz – PI [71]
PFC DVS-MFGCI Sliding mode control – – – PI [46]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 5 dq current control by two PI controllers SVPWM 10 kHz – SVPWM [82,83]
PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 pq with PR SVPWM 7.5 kHz – FLC [72]
PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 pq-an extended DPC SVPWM – – PI type FLC [73]
Linear quadratic
PFC NPC-MFGCI 3 dq current control Carrier PWM 9 kHz 1 kW [59]
PFC HFB-MFGCI dq current control PS-PWM 300 Hz 2.6 MVA PI [58,88]
PFC CHB-MFGCI 7 dq-VOC PS-PWM 500 Hz 1.5 MVA PI [94]

Energy-balance control strategy for a cascaded single-phase grid-connected H-bridge multilevel inverter linking n independent photovoltaic (PV) arrays to the grid. The control scheme is based on an energy-sampled data
model of the PV system and enables the design of a voltage loop linear discrete controller for each array, ensuring the stability of the system for the whole range of PV array operating conditions.
19.5 kHz for LS-PWM, 58.5 kHz for PS-PWM.
A switching pulse generator for each H-Bridge consists of a signal generator and a signal comparator. The signal generator produces unity gain sinusoidal modulating signal with period T and a staircase like carrier signal with
period 6T. At the signal comparator the modulating signal and the carrier signal are compared to produce switching signals. When the sinusoidal modulating signal is greater than the carrier signal, the signal generator gives an
output of 1. Otherwise it gives an output of 0.
M. Barghi Latran, A. Teke / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42 (2015) 361–376 375

with high efficiency over a wide power range, and to have a high In: 34th IEEE conference on photovoltaic specialists. Philadelphia; 7–12 June
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