Solar array simulators claims highest bandwidth and isolation voltage in the industry

September 12, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
AMETEK Programmable Power has expanded the company’s Elgar TerraSAS line with the ETS Series Standalone Photovoltaic (PV) Simulator.

The new Series includes three models for testing PV inverters across a wide spectrum of applications:

  1. ETS 80 to test micro-inverters or DC optimizers up to 80 Vdc Voc
  2. ETS 600 for testing string inverters that contain transformer isolation up to 600 Vdc Voc  
  3. ETS 1000 for non-isolated string inverters up to 1000 Vdc Voc.

The ETS 600 and ETS 1000 are 3U rack units, while the ETS 80 comes in a 1U package. The ETS 80 also is cost effective, being 30 to 40 percent less expensive than units with comparable output specifications.

For microgrids, energy storage, and inverter test applications, TerraSAS PV Simulators are specifically designed to emulate the dynamic electrical behavior of a terrestrial PV solar array.  They offer low output capacitance and high closed loop bandwidth to keep up with the advanced Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithms used in today's grid-tied inverters.

All Elgar ETS Series units are high-performance solutions packaged in a small form factor that combine an agile power supply, an innovative I-V curve generator, output isolation and Graphical User Interface (GUI) in a single, standalone unit.  

The Elgar TerraSAS and ETS Series PV simulators are based on high-speed versions of Elgar power supplies, where output capacitors, advanced DSP signal processing techniques, and other speed-limiting components have been adjusted to create a proprietary solution more advanced than any other solar array simulator on the market. This combination of hardware, software, and firmware allows the TerraSAS to simulate test protocols or combinations of events that a real-world solar installation is subjected to.
Under some conditions, traditional DC power sources using Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) technology do not meet MPPT response speed requirements.  Elgar ETS Series units use Power MOSFETs, which typically switch ten times as fast as the most recent IGBTs. Higher switching frequency translates to smaller output capacitors and inductors - which is the key to a successful high speed