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Capacitor to Minimize Payback Period of Single

Phase Solar PV System

AbstractSingle stage, single phase solar photovoltaic (PV)

inverters are used to directly feed solar power to the grid. DClink voltage of these inverters have oscillations of twice the grid

frequency. Due to high energy density and low cost, Aluminum

Electrolytic Capacitors (AEC) are popularly employed in dc-link

to suppress the second harmonic and switching voltage ripples.

With ageing AECs loses its ripple suppression quality due to

increase in its equivalent series resistance (ESR) and decrease

in its capacitance value. This causes oscillations in PV operating

point. The oscillating PV power around it maximum possible

value, results in reduction of PV power extraction efficiency.

Technique for real time monitoring of PV power extraction

efficiency is proposed in this paper. The technique is based on

average and maximum power calculations. Based on status of

extraction efficiency, replacement of capacitor is suggested at

a suitable time so as to minimize the payback period of PV

system. Maintenance cost and discount factor of PV system are

also included in payback period evaluation. Detailed simulation

studies are carried out using Simulink. A laboratory prototype

of single phase inverter is developed. The proposed technique is

implemented along with maximum power point tracking (MPPT)

controller. Results of the experimental studies are included in this

paper.

Index TermsDiagnostics; online monitoring; payback period;

PV power extraction efficiency; second harmonic ripples; solar

PV inverter

I. I NTRODUCTION

solar photovoltaics (PV) with grid. High efficiency of

PEC is desired due to high cost of solar PV panels and low

panel efficiency [1]. Efficiency of PEC is affected by (i) power

conversion losses and (ii) power extraction losses. Power conversion losses include switching and conduction losses in the

PEC. Literature exist on improving the conversion efficiency of

PECs used for solar PV system [2]. The extraction loss is due

to deviation of solar PV operating point from its maximum

power point (MPP). This deviation is either due to MPP

tracking (MPPT) algorithm or oscillations in solar PV voltage.

Power extraction efficiency of various MPPT techniques typically varies between 90% to 99.5% [3][5]. Further, extraction

efficiency is also affected by second harmonic and switching

harmonics ripple component appearing across PV voltage in

single phase solar PV system. Aluminum electrolytic capacitor

(AEC) is used as an energy storage element to limit second

harmonic voltage ripple to a low value and to maximize the

PV power extraction efficiency (PEE) [6]. Technique to reduce

dc-link capacitance without affecting PV extraction efficiency

is suggested in [7]. However, due to two stage conversion,

efficiency of system is less than that of single stage conversion.

In [8], reliable circuit topology is proposed for photovoltaic

complexity and reduces conversion efficiency due to three

stages of power conversion. In [9], a technique is proposed

to eliminate the use of AEC at dc-link of three phase grid

connected PV system. The modified Current Source Inverter

(CSI) is used to feed power to grid. However, the technique

is not viable for single phase PV system, due to large value

of dc-inductor used to suppress low frequency current ripples.

AECs are popularly used in converters due to their low

cost and volume as compared to film type capacitors [10].

However, AEC degrades due to its electrolyte loss with time,

which leads to rise in equivalent series resistence (ESR)

and fall in capacitance value [11][14]. Further, the rate

of loss in electrolyte increases with temperature [15]. This

leads to increase in ESR of capacitors due to high operating

temperature, thereby increasing magnitude of ripples in PV

voltage [16]. This reduces the PEE, which results in less

power availability from solar PV system Therefore, timely

replacement of electrolytic capacitor is necessary for high

power extraction efficiency.

Several approaches for online health monitoring of electrolytic capacitor are suggested in literatures [16][22]. In

[16], online monitoring is suggested based on monitoring of

ripple voltage across capacitor. If the ripple voltage crosses

the set limit, it gives the indication of capacitor failure. The

limitation of this technique is that under transient condition

the ripple voltage may grow leading to error in detection.

Moreover, the technique is not suitable if the capacitor core

temperature does not remain constant. In [17], a predictive

maintenance technique for electrolytic capacitor is proposed

for boost converter. The technique is non-invasive and uses

double estimation of ESR and capacitance for higher accuracy.

The software-added approach is proposed for switch mode

power supply to predict the health of AEC [18]. The voltage

and current ripples across capacitor are sampled to estimate

ESR. The technique also incorporates the temperature and

load variation. A technique is proposed for three phase PWM

converter to monitor the ESR of dc-link AEC [19]. AC current

is injected from three-phase source side due to which ripples

are produced across DC-link capacitor. Recursive least square

method is used for the estimation of ESR. In [20], RMS value

of switching frequency ripple voltage and current through

capacitor are calculated. Ratio of these two is used to obtain

ESR value. In [21], the ratio of power loss in capacitor to

square of RMS ripple current through capacitor is evaluated

to determine ESR. ESR exceeding predefined limit gives

indication of replacement of capacitor. The aforementioned

techniques [16][21], require current sensor of high bandwidth

START

In [22], a technique based on PV power extraction efficiency

is proposed. However, experimental results are not included.

Implementation challenges related to experimentation were not

discussed. Further, mathematical analysis of the technique is

not included in [22].

The objective of this paper is to propose accurate method

for timely replacement of capacitor on the basis of PV PEE

to minimize the payback period. For mathematical analysis,

Double Fourier Series Analysis (DFSA) is carried out to

determine the ripples in dc-link current. A scaled down laboratory prototype is developed to validate the proposed scheme.

Results are discussed in-detail in this paper.

The paper is organised as follows. In section II, proposed

technique is presented. Section III covers the mathematical

modeling of the PV system including proposed technique.

Section IV discusses the criterion for replacement of capacitor

on the basis of payback period. Detailed simulation and experimental results are presented in sections IV and V, respectively.

Section VI concludes the paper.

wait for

MPPT to

settle

Delay

S3

S1

iL

S4

S2

MPPT

Fig. 1.

L-filter

S3 S4

PIi

-1

+1

-1

+

Vpv*

S 1 S2

AC

___

vpv

ipv

Lo

+-

vpv

ic

PIv

Sin

o

is

count = n

Yes

Sin

PLL

PV PEE

Check Payback

Period if

capacitor is

replaced at this

instant

Is

Yes Replace the

Operate with No

Payback period

the same

capacitor

minimum

capacitor

?

Fig. 2.

is due to MPPT algorithm. Reference value of solar PV voltage

changes periodically to track the maximum power. The actual

PV voltage follows its reference value with some delay. The

samples if taken in this transient period may lead to error in

PV PEE calculation.

Flow chart of the proposed technique is shown in Fig. 2.

To address the above issue, sampling of vpv and ipv is done

after settling of dc-link voltage, as shown in flow chart. In

next step, n no. of samples of vpv and ipv are captured with

sampling rate of 1/Ts . In next step, instantaneous PV power

(ppv ) is calculated and Psum and Psum1 is find out in order

to evaluate PV PEE by the following equations:

pav =

Display

PV PEE

evaluation

No

DC-link idc

Extraction Efficiency (PEE) calculation, and (b) Criterion for

replacement of capacitor.

ipv

count = count+1

Fig. 1 shows a single phase full bridge inverter, interconnecting solar PV to the grid. The inverter is controlled

by the MPPT, which generates the reference PV voltage.

This voltage is realized using voltage and current controllers.

Power supplied by solar PV panel oscillates at twice the grid

frequency. In the proposed technique the ratio of average PV

power to its maximum value is calculated to find the PV

PEE. For this, sampling of instantaneous PV voltage (vpv )

and PV current (ipv ) is required to calculate instantaneous

PV power. Large number of samples per second would offer

higher accuracy in PV PEE. However, the sampling rate is

limited due to the speed of analog to digital converter (ADC)

0 ,count=0,

0 ,n

psum

n

(1)

extraction of maximum power (pm ) from all the samples of

Ppv may contain an error. To eliminate the effect of noise on

2.8175

ripple content in power. The RMS power, prms and ripple

power rms, pripp,rms are calculated as given below:

r

prms =

pripp,rms =

psum1

n

(2)

p2rms p2av

(3)

Hc1

Fref

+1

Hc2

sinx

Ts

/2

O

-1

-1

3/2

y sinx, x 0,2

Hc1

S1

pripp,max = 2.pripp,rms

(4)

S2

Fref

+

S4

Hc2

S3

pm = pripp,max + pav

(5)

is PV PEE:

pav

(6)

P V P EE =

pm

After evaluation of PV PEE, criterion for replacement of

capacitor based on PV PEE is discussed in subsequent section.

B. Criterion for replacement of capacitor

The degradation of electrolytic capacitor results in larger dclink voltage ripples due to which average PV power decreases.

The reduced PV PEE results in lower revenue generation

which increases the payback period of PV system. Therefore,

timely replacement of capacitor is required for maximum PV

PEE. However, the frequent replacement of capacitor will

add to the system cost. To quantify this, payback period of

the system is determined for different period of capacitor

replacements. The efficiency at which capacitor is replaced

versus the payback period is determined. The minimum value

of this curve, would indicate the PV PEE at which capacitors

should be replaced. The details about the payback period

calculations is given in Appendix A. Detailed calculations of

this criteria for a sample system is explained in section IV.

Fig. 3.

c t

c t

=

c t

Hc2 (c t) =

1

c t

=

1

Fref (o t) = M sin(o t)

Hc1 (c t) =

< c t < 0

(8a)

0 < c t <

(8b)

< c t < 0

(8c)

0 < c t <

(8d)

(8e)

where, c and o are angular frequency of carrier and reference waveforms, respectively. After substituting, x = c t + c

and y = o t + o for o = c = 0, the equations of carriers

and reference waveforms are given by,

x

x

=

x

Hc2 (x) = 1

x

= 1

Hc1 (x) =

< x < 0

(9a)

0<x<

(9b)

< x < 0

(9c)

0<x<

(9d)

(9e)

Analytical equation for PV PEE is derived for the single

phase grid connected PV system. The full bridge inverter

shown in Fig. 1, is operated by unipolar sinusoidal pulse width

modulation switching scheme, as shown in Fig. 3. DC-link

voltage includes oscillation of twice the grid frequency and

switching frequency. Therefore, double fourier series analysis

is used to determine various harmonic components [23].

DC-link current (idc ) is obtained using switch states and

inductor current (iL ),

idc = iL (S1 .S4 S2 .S3 )

(7)

reference waveform, Fref , used for PWM generation are given

below,

TABLE I

C ONDITION FOR DETERMINING DC LINK CURRENT

idc

il

0

il

M sin(y) > x

x

1 < M sin(y) <

M sin(y) < x

1

x

M sin(y) >

x

1 < M sin(y) <

x

M sin(y) <

1

in Table I. Unit cell of x-y plot describing the boundary

conditions for idc is shown in Fig. 4. The various frequency

components in dc current are given by,

Cmn = Q1 Q2 Q3

where,

(10)

2 x

3/2

ii=iL

ii = 0

ii = 0

/2

(M Sin( y) + )

ii= -iL

Parameter

Maximum Power

Voltage at Pmax

Current at Pmax

Short circuit current

Open circuit voltage

Temperature coefficient of Voc

Temperature coefficient of Isc

Grid frequency

Grid Voltage

M Sin ( y ) y = o x o +

c

o

ii= 0

y sinx, x 0,2

sinx

M S in ( y )

2.8175

TABLE II

S PECIFICATION OF SYSTEM

ii= -iL

Fig. 4.

Parameter

Inductor

DC link Capacitor

ESR of input Cap.

Switching frequency

Q1 =

1

2 2

Q2 =

1

2 2

Q3 =

1

2 2

nR

M sin(y)

R

iL .ej(mx+ny) dxdy

0 M sin(y)

M sin(y)+

R

n R0

iL .ej(mx+ny) dxdy

n R0

iL .ej(mx+ny) dxdy

(M sin(y)+)

and, iL = IL sin(y )

where, IL is the peak inductor current and is the phase

difference between fundamental component of inverter output

voltage and inductor current. Ripples in idc is absorbed by

electrolytic capacitor. By using (7), (9) and (10), PV voltage

is given by,

vpv = Vpv +

X

X

Value

2 kW

365 V

5.48 A

6.3 A

390 V

.03%

-.33%

50 Hz

230 V

TABLE III

C ONVERTER COMPONENT

O

-1

( M Sin( y ) + )

Variable

PM P P

VM P P

IM P P

ISC

VOC

f0

vg

Vmn sin(mc t + no t)

(12)

2

1

(mc no )C

(13)

Variable

L

C

ESR

fs

Value

3 mH

4700 F

0.02

10kHz

are given in Tables II and III, respectively.

Reference MPP voltage and actual DC link voltage are

shown in Fig 5. Simulated result shows that the dc link voltage

is following the reference voltage with some delay. As already

discussed in section II, this delay depends on the plant and

controller parameters. To apply the proposed technique, this

transient period is excluded for PV PEE calculations.

m=0 n=

where,

s

Vmn = Cmn

ESR2 +

vpv

ipv = I + Io (1 e N )

(14)

where,

I = photo-generated current (A)

Io = diode reverse saturation current (A)

= .026 at 25o C

N = number of solar cells in series

The instantaneous PV power is given as,

p(t) = vpv ipv

Fig. 5.

(15)

harmonic time period are solved using MATLAB. This ratio

is PV PEE. Details are provided in the next section.

IV. S IMULATION R ESULTS AND D ISCUSSION

A single phase grid feeding solar PV inverter along with

controller, shown in Fig. 1 is simulated in Matlab/Simulink

shown in Fig. 6. With ageing ESR and C changes, depending

on the temperature. Detailed relation of ESR and C with

temperature is provided in [24], [25]. Due to reduction in

C and increase in ESR with time, variation of PV PEE

is observed. PV PEE is determined by the following two

methods, 1) by implementing proposed technique in Simulink

model, and 2) by implementing mathematical model derived

in section III on MATLAB. The results are tabulated in Table

IV. Following are the key observations:

1) As the capacitor degrades, PV PEE detoriates. Difference

in values of extraction efficiency estimated by simulink model

(column 4 of Table IV) and mathematical model (column

5) increases. This is because mathematical model dont in-

10000

Inverter output voltage (V)

Grid voltage (V)

0

-200

0.2

0.22

0.24

0.26

0.28

0.3

0.32

0.34

0.36

0.38

0.4

9000

Payback Period (days)

200

20

8000

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

Power Extraction Efficiency

0.9

-20

-40

0.2

0.22

0.24

0.26

0.28

0.3

Time

0.32

0.34

0.36

0.38

0.4

inductor current.

TABLE IV

S IMULATION R ESULTS @ 50o C O PERATING T EMPERATURE

Time

(Hours)

ESR

()

Capacitance

(F)

0

10,000

20,000

31,120

38,900

40,308

41,057

41,217

41,260

41,296

41,330

41,364

41,375

41,385

41,400

41,420

.02

.026

.04

.08

.32

.7

1.9

3

3.55

4.2

5.067

6.4

7

7.63

8.85

11.248

4700

4247

3760

3290

2937

2874

2840

2832

2831

2829

2827

2826

2826

2825

2824

2824

%PV PEE( by

(Simulink Model of

Proposed technique)

99.94

99.93

99.90

99.87

99.87

99.69

96.38

90.38

86.86

82.64

77.3

70.2

67.45

64.85

60.52

54.08

%PV PEE( by

(Mathematical

model)

99.99

99.99

99.99

99.99

99.97

99.88

99.09

97.60

96.51

94.85

91.85

84.96

81.14

76.38

67.89

59.43

resistance, diode resistance, inductor resistance etc.

2) Observation of Table IV reveals that for a given criteria

of capacitor life from datasheet ( i.e. ESR becoming twice of

initial value), the PEE is still 99.90%. So, it is uneconomical to

remove the capacitor based on the life provided by the capacitor manufacturers. So as discussed in section II criterion for

replacement of capacitor based on payback period calculation

is suggested. Payback period calculation is alraedy discussed

in [22].

Capacitor must be replaced if PV PEE drops to a set value.

Payback versus PV PEE at which capacitor must be replaced

is shown in Fig. 7. The payback period of PV system is high if

the capacitor is replaced at higher PV PEE. Though, extraction

efficiency increases, this leads to marginal increase in revenue.

However, frequent replacement of capacitor would result in

larger GSC. Therefore, payback period increases. In case the

capacitor is replaced at very lower value of PV PEE, GSC

would reduce but revenue collection per unit time reduces

significantly. This results in higher PV system payback period.

The replacement of capacitor at certain PV PEE results in

Fig. 7.

PEE.

time. At this instant the payback period of the PV system is

minimized.

V. E XPERIMENTAL V ERIFICATION

A scaled down laboratory prototype of single phase grid

connected PV system, shown in Fig. 1, is developed. The built

prototype of single phase inverter feeds 120W of power at

unity power factor. Specifications of PV module and inverter

components are given in Tables V and VI, respectively. The

experimentations are performed with three different values of

dc-link capacitors as tabulated in Table VI.

FSBB20CH60C (IGBT module) is used as inverter, which

includes integrated short circuit protection and inbuilt gate

drivers. Agilent Technologies made E4360A is used to emulate

solar PV source. DSP TMS320F2808 is used for the closed

loop control and to implement the propsed technique. PWM

signals for IGBTs are generated using interrupt-based timer

modules of the controller. OPAMP-based differential amplifer

circuit is used to attenuate feedback signals in order to make

it compatible with controllers ADC. Inductor and PV currents

are measured using LEM-LA-25P current transducers. For the

operation of OP-AMPS, transducers, IGBT driver circuit and

TABLE V

S PECIFICATION OF PV MODULE

Parameter

PV Voltage at Pmax

PV Current at Pmax

Short circuit current

Open circuit voltage

Value

80 V

1.7 A

2.2 A

100 V

TABLE VI

I NVERTER PARAMETERS

Parameter

DC link Cpacitance(AEC)

Inductor(CRGO core)

Grid frequency

Grid Voltage

Switching Frequency

Value

Capacitor C1 : C=1860 F, ESR=61 m

Capacitor C2 : C=820 F, ESR=62 m

Capacitor C3 : C=410 F, ESR=134 m

L=3.1 mH and R=0.2 at 100Hz

50 Hz

45 V

10 kHz

PV

voltage

Inverter output

voltage

PV

current

Grid voltage

Inductor

current

Fig. 8. Waveform of inverter output voltage (50 V/div), grid voltage (50

V/div) and inductor current (5 A/div), Time: 5 ms/div

power supply circuit.

The inverter output voltage, inductor current and grid voltage are shown in Fig. 8. Inductor current is of the same

phase as that of grid voltage, and power factor is found to

be 0.95. Total harmonic distortion (THD) of the grid voltage

and inductor current are in the range of 1.7%- 1.8% and 2.5%2.8% for three different dc capacitors, respectively.

The perturb and observe MPP algorithm is applied to

extract maximum PV power. The waveform of reference PV

voltage and actual PV voltage is shown in Fig. 9. Since the

power fluctuate at twice the grid frequency (50Hz), the dclink voltage has the dominant ripple of twice the fundamental

frequency (100Hz). Furthermore, the dc-link ripple magnitude

depends on the value of dc-link capacitor.

For Capacitor C1 and Capacitor C2 , dc-link voltage ripple

and PV current ripple are shown in Figs. 10 and 11 ,

respectively. From these waveforms it is clear that as dclink capacitance decreases the magnitude of ripple voltage

Actual PV voltage

Reference PV

voltage

Fig. 10. Waveform of dc-link voltage ripple (500 mV/div) and current ripple

(50mA/div) for Capacitor C1 : C=1860 F, ESR=61 m

PV

voltage

PV

current

Fig. 11. Waveform of dc-link voltage ripple (1 V/div) and current ripple

(100 mA/div) for Capacitor C2 : C=820 F, ESR=62 m

2.94 V and 3.36 V, respectively.

The technique of online monitoring of PV PEE is validated experimentally on the prototype. For three values of

capacitance average and maximun solar power is evaluated

as discussed in Section II. PV PEE is obtained and tabulated

in Table VII along with simulation results for the same value

of capaciances and system specifications used in prototype.

The maximum power remains same in the three cases, as

expected. Further, with reduction in capacitance value and increase in ESR value, average power decreases. Experimentally

the extraction efficiency deteriorates from 98.3% to 93.126%.

TABLE VII

E XPERIMENTAL AND SIMULATION R ESULTS

Fig. 9. Reference (10 V/div) and actual voltage (10 V/div) during maximum

power point tracking.

Pavg

Pmax

PV PEE

C=1860 F

ESR=61 m

Exp.

Sim.

133.2W 133.7W

135.5W 135.9W

98.3%

98.38%

C=820 F

ESR=62 m

Exp.

Sim.

129.9W

130.8W

135.97W

135.9W

95.53%

96.24%

C=410 F

ESR=134 m

Exp.

Sim.

126W

127.9W

135.3W

135.9W

93.126%

94.11%

VI. CONCLUSION

Degradation of electrolytic capacitor leads to rise in dclink voltage ripples. Larger magnitude of dc-link voltage

ripples reduces the average PV power, thereby reducing PV

power extraction efficiency (PEE). A technique is suggested

for online monitoring of PV PEE. It is concluded from the

experimental results that at twice the value of initial ESR, PV

PEE is still greater than 93%. It is uneconomical to replace the

capacitor at that instant. Replacement of capacitor is suggested

on the basis of PV PEE for minimum system payback period.

Payback period calculation of system including maintenance

cost for replacement of capacitor at different PV PEE is

included. The merits of the proposed technique are, i) Evaluation of PV PEE is unaffected from change in PV reference

voltage due to MPPT, ii) no additional circuits or sensors are

required to estimate the life of AEC. The proposed technique

is validated by experimentation. PV PEE is found to decrease

with reduction in C and increase in ESR values.

A PPENDIX A

PAYBACK P ERIOD A NALYSIS

Payback period is the recovery time period of initial investment of system [26]. Calculation of payback period depends

on whether the cash flow per period from the project is even

or uneven. For even cash flow, payback period is the ratio of

initial investment to the total cash inflow per period.

For a solar PV system, non uniformity in solar radiations

and degradation of capacitor leads to uneven cash flow per

period. Total cash inflow (CF) till the last negative cumulative

cash flow is given by,

CF =

n

X

Ei Ci (1 + r) 365

(16)

i=1

where,

Ei = the output energy per period (KWh)

Ci = Feed in Tariff (FIT) ($/kWh)

r = rate of rise in FIT (per unit)

i = period in days.

Initial PV system cost (PC) includes the cost of solar panels,

inverter, MPPT tracker, cables, system controllers etc. Solar

panels cost around 50% of the initial PV system cost [27].

Gross system cost (GSC) is defined as initial PV system cost

plus the cost of replaced electrolytic capacitors till the total

system cost is redeemed. Discount rate of PV system is also

included in GSC calculation.

n

m

X

CC[(1 + d)

niT0

365

(17)

i=1

where,

P C = initial cost of PV system ($)

CC = cost of replaced electrolytic capacitor ($)

d = discount rate of solar PV system (per unit)

m = number of replaced electrolytic capacitor

T0 = time period of electrolytic capacitor replacement

Payback period (N) of solar PV system can be evaluated

by saving to investment ratio (SIR), which is defined as,

CF

(18)

GSC

Following conclusions can be made from (18)

1) For n < N : SIR < 1 investment cost > revenue

generated from system.

2) For n = N : SIR = 1 investment cost = revenue

generated from system. At this instant, the value of n will

give the payback period of PV system.

3) For n > N : SIR > 1 investment cost < revenue

generated from system. Total revenue generated minus total

investment cost of PV system will give the net profit generated

from the PV system.

SIR =

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