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2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference

Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007



Corresponding Author: Liuchen Chang

Dept. of Elec. & Comp. Eng., University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada
Phone: (506) 447-3145, Fax: (506) 453-3589, Email:
Co-authors: Yaosue Xue, Gene Guo
Dept. of Elec. & Comp. Eng., University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Type of Paper: Refereed

ABSTRACT they demand higher volume, weight and cost for

small PV applications.
A single-phase buck-boost inverter is proposed for
Buck-boost inverters have the advantage of
grid-connected photovoltaic applications.
converting dc voltage higher or lower than the utility
Topologically, the proposed inverter has a low
voltage without utilizing a line frequency tansformer.
component count with only three power switches,
Two stage or multiple stage configurations are
while conventional PV inveters may require five
commonly used in buck-boost inverters (Xue et al.,
switches in two-stage power conversions for the
2004). Such inverter systems have dc-dc or dc-ac-dc
same functions. Functionally, the new inverter can
converters added to obtain an elevated dc voltage
adapt to a wide range of photovoltaic dc variations,
ahead of inversion. A two-stage buck-boost inverter
lower or higher dc voltage compared to utility
can achieve a relatively high power capacity;
voltage, and in the meantime track the maximum
nevertheless, the additional power stage requires
power points of solar energy all in one single power
more power components and thus higher costs.
stage. Analysis, simulation and design of such a
400W inveter are presented in this paper. Single-stage buck-boost inverters perform voltage
boosting and inverting at the same time and the
INTRODUCTION instantaneous output voltage can be either higher or
Distributed generation (DG) systems are small lower than the input voltage. Compared to two-stage
modular devices close to electricity users, such as buck-boost inverters, single-stage buck-boost
wind turbines, solar energy systems, fuel cells, micro inverters present a compact design with a good
gas turbines, and small hydro systems, as well as performance-cost ratio.
relevant control and energy storage systems. Such In this paper a single-phase single-stage buck-boost
systems normally need inverters as interfaces inverter is presented. The simple three-switch circuit
between their ac loads and sources as shown in topology provides a low-cost solution with overall
Figure 1, which depicts a typical renewable DG high efficiency for small PV applications. Operation
system using photovoltaic (PV) as energy source. DG principles, control methods and hardware design are
inverters often experience a wide range of input discussed in following sections.
voltage variations due to the fluctuations of energy
sources, which impose stringent requirements for SYSTEM MODELING
inverter topologies and controls. The single-phase single-stage buck-boost inverter
(Chang et al., 2006) is shown in Figure 2. It is
composed of three MOSFET power switches, two
mutually-coupling inductors, two power flow reverse
blocking diodes, and an output LC filter.

Figure 1. Typical PV system configuration.

Tranditional full-bridge inverters do not have the

flexibility of handling a wide range of dc input
voltages. Especially when the dc voltage is lower
than the ac voltage, heavy line-frequency step-up
transformers are required. Although these inverters
demonstrate robust performance and high reliability,

2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference
Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007

System Dynamics
The inverter system dynamics can be described by
the state space equations in (4). The state variables
are chosen to be the mutually-coupling inductor
currents i L1 , i L 2 , the output ac inductor current iac ,
and the output capacitor voltage, vC . The control
inputs of the system are defined by the PWM
switching signal u pwm and the synchronizing signal
usync as well as the dc voltage vdc and grid voltage
vac as disturbance inputs. The inverter model defined
in (4a) is a mixed-integer nonlinear system.
Figure 2. Three-switch buck-boost inverter circuitry. •
x = f ( u, x )
where x = [iL1 iL 2 vC ] (4)
Switch Modeling iac
The fundamental principle of the inverter is T

characterized by a series of recharging and

u = ⎡⎣usync u pwm vdc vac ⎤⎦
discharging operations. During discharging periods, which is defined as,
the output current is provided by the mutual
inductors and the output capacitor is recharged;
= u pwm vdc − usync (1 − u pwm ) vC
during recharging periods, the output is supported ad L1
continued by the output capacitor.
L2 L 2 = (1 − usync )(1 − u pwm ) vC + u pwm vdc
Table 1 lists all possible combinations of switching
logics, which in turn brings out the switching dt
C C = usync (1 − u pwm ) iL1 − (1 − usync )(1 − u pwm ) iL 2 − iac
functions of S1 , S 2 and S3 defined in Equation (1). dv
u1 = usync (1 − u pwm ) diac
L = vC − vac
u2 = (1 − usync )(1 − u pwm ) (1) dt
u3 = u pwm
where System Control Structure
The system control consists of an inner-loop
⎧ 1 L1 recharging feedback current controller and an outer loop MPPT
u pwm = ⎨ (f s in kHz )
⎩0 L1 discharging controller, which will be discussed later in details.
Figure 3 illustrates the overall system control
⎧1 positive half cycle Sinusoidal pulse-width modulation (SPWM)
usync = ⎨ (f = 60 Hz ) technique is adopted, which achieves good output
⎩ 0 negtive half cycle waveform for this class of inverter with predefined
(3) spectra and without subharmonics as investigated
previously (Xue, 2004). Closed-loop SPWM control
Table 1 is deployed to regulate ac output instantaneous
Switching logic table. current and to control SPWM duty cycle so that the
output follows a sinusoidal reference current as
S3 S1 S2 Operation Modes accurately and as fast as possible.
0 0 0 Stop
0 0 1 Discharge, (-) vdc vac
0 1 0 Discharge, (+)
0 1 1 (not allowed) usync iL1
1 0 0 Recharge, (+)(-) idc vdc* iac* v * uPWM f ( ur, xr ) iL 2
1 0 1 (not allowed) iac
1 1 0 (not allowed) iac
1 1 1 (not allowed)
Figure 3.Overall system control block diagram.

2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference
Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007

maximum power from the PV, the optimal dc voltage

It was found that, for a PI controller, there exists the
is searched in real time using HCS method. The basic
tradeoff between the rise time and overshoot (Xue,
principle of HCS method is as follows: if the
2004). Therefore, a Proportional-Integral-Derivative
previous increment of Vdc reference results in an
(PID) controller is used, as given by Equation (5), for
increase of Pdc, then the search of Vdc reference
fast response, good tracking, and insensitivity to
continues in the same direction, otherwise the search
reverses its direction. In the controller, Vdc and Idc are
Ki sampled as the power feedback input and the Vdc
C (s ) = K p + + Kd s (5) reference is found in real time using the HCS method,
s which represents for the system’s optimal operation
To operate well for the inverter with a wide range of point.
dc voltage input of 55V to 300V, the PID controller In the inner loop a fuzzy logic controller (FLC) is
gains have to adapt with the changes of the dc designed to force real Vdc to follow its reference by
voltage and the ac current reference. Simulations adjusting the load current demand for the inverter
were performed to tune the parameters for a less than current controller. The FLC is highly insensitive to
5% total harmonic distortion (THD) of output current the system variations, including component
for various operating conditions. In practical, a look- uncertainties and disturbances, and non-linearity. It
up table, as in Table 2, can be used to select the also demonstrates fast response for the system to
appropriate gain values depending on the dc voltage reach equilibrium. The FLC block diagram is shown
and the ac current reference. in Figure 4.

Table 2 vdc
PID gains for different operating points.
Vdc (V) Iac (A) Kp Ki Kd
ΔI dm I ac*
50V 1A 0.055 4e-5 60e-6

100V 1A 0.013 5e-6 10e-6 d

dt Z −1
100V 5A 0.11 5e-6 5e-6
Figure 4. Fuzzy logic controller block diagram.
150V 1A 0.11 3.5e-5 5e-6
The two inputs of FLC are dc voltage error e and its
150V 2A 0.001 5e-6 5e-6 rate of change ce. The output of FLC is the
incremental current demand ΔIdm. In the
150V 5A 0.001 5e-6 5e-6 fuzzification process, two input variables are
normalized first and triangular membership functions
200V 1A 0.001 4e-6 5e-6 are used, which are shown in Figure 5 along with the
membership function for the output fuzzy variable. In
200V 5A 0.001 4e-6 5e-6
the fuzzy inference engine, IF-THEN rules with
300V 1A 0.052 4e-5 15e-6 AND logical operator are designed for fuzzy
variables process, and MIN-MAX method is
300V 5A 0.01 3.5e-5 15e-6 employed for fuzzy rule implication and aggregation.
Table 3 lists a total of 49 fuzzy rules for the proposed
FLC. For the defuzzification, the FLC employs the
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) center of gravity method and the result is de-
A maximum power point tracker is used to extract normalized to output the desired ΔIdm. In order to
maximum power from the PV system. From the avoid the unnecessary frequent fluctuations of
power output-voltage characteristics of a PV array, at inverter output current, the control period of the FLC
a certain solar radiation there exists an optimal Vdc and the base value for ΔIdm denormalization are
for which the power output is maximum. The chosen in a moderate pace.
reference ac current which corresponds to the
Table 3
maximum power is set by the maximum power point
tracker. As shown in Figure 3, the MPPT controller Fuzzy logic rules.
uses fuzzy logic technique combined with hill
climbing algorithm.
Hill climbing searching (HCS) method is popular for PL PL PM PM PS ZR ZR NS
MPPT control due to its simplicity and independence PM PM PM PM ZR ZR NS NS
of system characteristics. In order to extract

2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference
Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007


Figure 8. Output current waveform for Vdc= 100V.

Figure 5. Membership functions for fuzzy variables.

System-level simulations were performed using
PSIM software to verify the proposed control
strategy. Figure 6 to Figure 9 show the waveforms of Figure 9. Output current waveform for Vdc= 50V.
the output current for different Vdc and Iac. Figure 10
demonstrates the output current changes from 3A to
5A in response to a dc voltage change from 150V to

Figure 10. Output current jumps from 3A to 5A.

The single-phase buck-boost inverter in this paper is
Figure 6. Output current waveform for Vdc= 300V.
targeted to utility-tied small PV applications. Table 4
lists the major targeted specifications of a 400W PV
inverter. This section presents design considerations
during implementation.

Table 4
Technical specifications of 400W PV inverter.

Rated Power 400 W

Maximum Power 600 W for 1 minute
Rated DC Voltage 200 V
Input DC Voltage Range 55 ~ 300 V
Figure 7. Output current waveform for Vdc= 150V. Rated AC Output 120V/60Hz
Output AC Voltage and 105 ~ 132 V, r.m.s,
Frequency Range 59.3 ~ 60.5 Hz
Efficiency 89%

2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference
Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007

Output Total Demand processes the signals, and sends to the

Distortion microprocessor for control and protection purposes.
Interconnection Standard IEEE 1547 The real time switch control signals are fed to power
MOSFET through the drive circuit. The control
circuit also provides immediate hardware protections
Power Circuit Design for over-current, over-voltage, over-temperature
Due to the nature of this inverter circuitry, power faults and controller power failure. A functional
components need to be rearranged to simplify the block diagram of control circuit is shown in Figure
control circuit. As shown in Figure 11 in the 12 in the appendix.
appendix, switch S2 is repositioned such that S2 and Microchip’s dsPIC33FJ64MC506 is selected to be
S3 share a common ground. As a result, S2 and S3 the microcontroller of control circuit. It is a low-cost,
can use non-isolated drive circuits and one isolated 16-bit 40MIPS processor with DSP capabilities for
MOSFET drive circuit is only needed for S1. advanced control algorithms. It has multi-channel
One of major tasks is to design the flyback fast ADC and PWM modules. The current control
transformer, which is presented as follows. and MPPT algorithms are programmed using
In the application here, the fly-back transformer is standard C language. Software-based system
actually two highly-coupled inductors with equal protections are also embedded in the control codes.
inductances and turns, L1 = L2 and N 1 = N 2 . CONCLUSION
A simple analytical method, based on input-output The proposed buck-boost inverter offers many
power balance, is used to find the mathematical advantages as compared to traditional two-stage
control-to-output solution (Xue, 2004) and to buck-boost inverters. Its low component count and
determine the inductance value. The value of flyback compact design will help to reduce the size and cost
inductance for discontinuous-current mode (DCM) of the inverter. The ability to convert wide range of
operation is calculated using Equation (6). input dc voltage is very important in small PV
applications. Fuzzy logic based MPPT and closed-
M 2Vs2
L= (6) loop current control offer fast and reliable
4 Pf s performance. Simulation results show that the
inverter is feasible for the specified dc voltage and
where M is modulation index, Vs is dc voltage , P is power levels. A 400W PV inverter system is
the power input and fs is switching frequency, 24kHz. currently under implementation.
Modulation index, M can be calculated from
Equation (7). In this application, we need to select an ACKNOWLEDGMENT
appropriate inductance value to make sure the The authors would like to thank the National
inverter normally works for the DC input voltage Sciences and Engineering Research Council of
range from 55V to 300V and provides rated power Canada for its financial support to this project.
output of at rated voltage.
M≤ (7) Chang, L., Liu, Z., Xue, Y., and Guo, Z., “A novel
Vs + 2V buck-boost inverter for photovoltaic systems,” in
Proc. CSBC’06, Montreal, QC, Canada, Aug.
The fly-back transformer design depends on which
20-24, 2006, [CD-ROM].
current operation mode is applied to the inverter,
DCM or continuous current mode (CCM). For the Xue, Y., Chang, L., Baekhj Kjaer, S., Bordonau, J.
same output power, DCM requires less inductance and Shimizu, T., “Topologies of single-phase
and reduces transformer size but operates with higher inverters for small distributed power generators:
losses and lower efficiency due to higher peak an overview,” IEEE Trans. Power Electronics,
current. The tradeoff between transformer size and vol. 19, pp. 1305-1314, Sept. 2004.
power supply efficiency depends on the detail Xue, Y., Analysis, Simulation, and Test of A Novel
application requirements. For this application DCM Buck-Boost Inverters, University of New
was selected in order to get smaller transformer size Brunswick, M.Sc. Thesis, Jan. 2004.
and maximize the control capability of the inverter.
Furthermore the peak short-circuit current must be
less than the maximum pulse current of the MOSFET.
The final inductance values were determined to be
150μH corresponding to a peak current of 28A.

Control Circuit Design

The control circuit reads the dc voltage, dc current,
ac voltage, ac current, and temperature signals,

2nd Canadian Solar Buildings Conference
Calgary, June 10 – 14, 2007


Figure 11. Inverter power circuit and controller interface.


Figure 12. Controller hardware block diagram.