Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Graduate Exam Abstract

Michael Kabala
M.S. Final
May 02, 2017, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
ECE Conference Room C101 B
Application of Distributed DC/DC Electronics in Photovoltaic Systems
Abstract: In a typical residential, commercial or
utility grade photovoltaic (PV) system,
PV modules are connected in series
and in parallel to form an array that is
connected to a standard DC/AC
inverter, which is then connected
directly to the grid. This type of
standard installation; however, does
very little to maximize the energy
output of the solar array if certain
conditions exist. These conditions
could include age, temperature,
irradiance and other factors that can
cause mismatch between PV modules
in an array that severely cripple the
output power of the system. Since PV
modules are typically connected in
series to form a string, the output of the
entire string is limited by the efficiency
of the weakest module. With PV
module efficiencies already relatively
low, it is critical to extract the maximum
power out of each module in order to
make solar energy an economically
viable competitor to oil and gas.
Module level DC/DC electronics with
maximum power point (MPP) tracking
solves this issue by decoupling each
module from the string in order for the
module to operate independently of the
geometry and complexity of the
surrounding system. This allows each
PV module to work at its maximum
power point by transferring the
maximum power the module is able to
deliver directly to the load by either
boosting (stepping up) the voltage or
bucking (stepping down) the voltage.
The goal of this thesis is to discuss the
development of a per-module DC/DC
converter in order to maximize the
energy output of a PV module and
reduce the overall cost of the system
by increasing the energy harvest.
Adviser: George Collins
Co-Adviser: N/A
Non-ECE Member: Hiroshi Sakurai, Mechanical Engineering
Member 3: HJ Siegel, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Addional Members: Peter Young, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Program of Study:
Introduction to Biophysics
Power Electronics I
Electrical Power Engineering
High-Power Amplifier Design
Electric Power Quality
Engineering Risk Analysis