|27||Multi-Phase Solar Power Converter with MPPT
James Arnold (jpa2)
Justin Meyer (jlmeyer4)
Nate Post (npost2)
Solar panels have unique power curves that maximize at a certain voltage and current point, but the panels don't automatically operate at that point. By making a converter with maximum power point tracking (MPPT), systems can extract more energy from them. This converter is for the solar panels on the roof of the ECEB and might not be directly applicable to other solar panels. The panels have another issue due to their tight placement; solar panels partially block each other during certain times of the day and a solar panels output power is determined by the most shaded region. So the converter we are proposing measures the power output of three different sections on the panels and tracks the maximum power point of each section to improve efficiency even further. We are also designing this to fit to a microgrid system so we want to communicate through wifi how much power we are extracting from each panel. The output of our converter will act like a current source so it can adjust to what voltage the DC power rail is demanding of us.
# Solution Overview
We will design a power converter that connects to segments of a solar panel, converting the power from each segment separately. Each segment has its own power curve that can be maximized, thus allowing us to extract as much energy from each panel as possible. In addition, this solution will be scalable, with the output of each device being a current source that can inject current onto a governed DC rail, such as one for a pre-inverter stage of a Micro-grid. Finally, to allow for scalability and monitoring in such a large system, we will integrate WiFi data transmission so that the operator of the panels can read individual panels’ power transmission information.
# Solution Components
## Power Converter
We will create a switching power supply that is based on the topology of the forward converter in order to convert power from multiple terminals of a single solar panel and extract maximum power from all sets of photovoltaic cells.re
The optimization function for MPPT must be run on some sort of processor, so a microcontroller that can quickly run the control loop needs to be part of the design. The microprocessor will also need an ADC running at least as fast as the sampling rate. A microcontroller similar to the STM32 would be a good choice.
## Wifi Chip
will most likely use the esp8266 because it gives us many clock cycles to run our control loops.
# Criterion for success
- Power extraction from solar panels is at least 85% efficient across all cells
- Power output data can be sent across a network to a server/client for display and analytics
- Output can be connected to a governed DC rail and operate based upon that rail's control