Non-Uniform Aged Modules Reconfiguration for Large-Scale PV Array

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
IEEE Transactions on Device and Materials Reliability, 2017, 17 (3), pp. 560 - 569
Issue Date:
2017-09-01
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© 2001-2011 IEEE. In the past decades, a large number of photovoltaic (PV) plants have been built. Due to the minor physical differences between PV cells and the influence of environmental factors such as rains, temperature, and humidity, the aging of a PV array is often distributed unevenly within each PV module. This non-uniform aging causes further decreased output power, which is often easily observed for large size PV arrays. Although the global maximum power point tracking (GMPPT) strategy can improve the output power, the GMPPT cannot exploit the maximal power generation potential from non-uniform aging PV arrays. In order to exploit further the power generation potential and extend the service time of non-uniform aging PV arrays, a novel PV array reconfiguration method is developed in this paper. The concept of cell unit is applied to investigate the aging phenomenon of PV modules, and each PV module is assumed to be composed of three submodules, while these three submodules within any single PV module might have different aging conditions and, thus, different power-output capacities. The challenge is how to rearrange the PV array under the cases where: 1) each PV module has non-uniformly aged cell units; 2) there are a large number of PV modules; and 3) the voltage working range is restricted. To solve these problems, a nonlinear integer programming problem is formulated to maximize the power output under the constraints of non-uniformly aging and voltage restrictions. A small size 7×10 PV array is simulated to illustrate the proposed method. Furthermore, medium size 20×10 and large size 125×20 PV arrays are employed to verify the feasibility of the proposed method. A 1.5 kW 2×4 real PV array under non-uniform aging conditions is presented and experimentally tested to confirm the proposed rearrangement method.
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