PSUs configured as photovoltaic array simulators, test & set inverter MPPT

August 31, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
This introduction from Keysight is intended to assist engineers to test and optimise inverter maximum power point tracking algorithms and circuits, for maximum solar power production

Keysight Technologies’ N8937APV and N8957APV are photovoltaic array simulators comprising autoranging, single-output, programmable DC power sources that can quickly simulate I-V curve characteristics under different environmental conditions (temperature, irradiance, age, cell technology and more), enabling engineers to quickly and comprehensively test their inverters. Developing and verifying the performance of inverter maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms and circuits is challenging. MPPT algorithms are complex, and under-the-sun testing with a comprehensive set of temperature and irradiance conditions is difficult, expensive and time consuming.

“Small increments in power production have a dramatic effect on the profitability of solar power generation,” comments Kari Fauber, general manager of Keysight’s Power and Energy Division. “Keysight’s PV array simulators help engineers capture as much energy as possible from their inverters, to improve the economics of solar power generation.”

Engineers can use the PV simulators in a laboratory or on a manufacturing line to simulate the output characteristics of a real-world photovoltaic array. They provide stable output power, built-in voltage and current measurements and autoranging output voltage and current from 500 to 1,500V and 10 to 30A. The autoranging capability makes the units more flexible than traditional rectangular-output power supplies because they expand the power curve to provide more voltage and current combinations.

In addition to using the N8937/57APV units to simulate PV arrays, engineers can use them for other test and measurement tasks. They provide 15-kW autoranging, programmable DC power for design verification and ATE applications that require just the right amount of performance at an affordable price. Engineers can easily configure multiple units in parallel to create a single power supply that offers more than 90 kW of power.

Keysight; /