Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Lawrence E. Holloway

Abstract

The yield from a solar photovoltaic (PV) source is dependent on factors such as light and temperature. A control system called a maximum power point tracker (MPPT) ensures that the yield from a solar PV source is maximized in spite of these factors. This thesis presents a novel implementation of a perturb and observe (PO) MPPT.

The implementation uses a switched capacitor step down converter and a custom digital circuit implementation of the PO algorithm. Working in tandem, the switched capacitor step down converter and the custom digital circuit implementation were able to successfully track the maximum power point of a simulated solar PV source. This implementation is free of the overhead encountered with general purpose processor based MPPT implementations. This makes this MPPT system a valid candidate for applications where general purpose processors are undesirable.

This document will begin by discussing the current state of MPPT research. Afterward, this thesis will present studies done to be able to use the chosen switched capacitor step down converter. Then the digital circuit PO implementation will be discussed in detail. Simulations of the architecture will be presented. Finally, experimental validation using a hardware prototype will be shown.

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