The thesis follows the development of an advanced solar photovoltaic power conversion
system from first principles. It is divided into five parts.
The first section shows the development of a circuit-based simulation model of a
photovoltaic (PV) cell within the 'SABER' simulator environment. Although simulation models
for photovoltaic cells are available these are usually application specific, mathematically intensive
and not suited to the development of power electronics. The model derived within the thesis is
a circuit-based model that makes use of a series of current/voltage data sets taken from an actual
cell in order to define the relationships between the cell double-exponential model parameters and
the environmental parameters of temperature and irradiance. Resulting expressions define a
'black box' model, and the power electronics designer may simply specify values of temperature
and irradiance to the model, and the simulated electrical connections to the cell provide the
appropriate I/V characteristic.
The second section deals with the development of a simulation model of an advanced PVaware
DC-DC converter system. This differs from the conventional in that by using an embedded
maximum power tracking system within a conventional linear feedback control arrangement it
addresses the problem of loads which may not require the level of power available at the
maximum power point, but is also able to drive loads which consistently require a maximum
power feed such as a grid-coupled inverter.
The third section details a low-power implementation of the above system in hardware.
This shows the viability of the new, fast embedded maximum power tracking system and also the
advantages of the system in terms of speed and response time over conventional systems.
The fourth section builds upon the simulation model developed in the second section by
adding an inverter allowing AC loads (including a utility) to be driven. The complete system is
simulated and a set of results obtained showing that the system is a usable one.
The final section describes the construction and analysis of a complete system in hardware
(c. 500W) and identifies the suitability of the system to appropriate applications.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.