This paper presents a research tool that allows engineers to optimize the design of a dynamic photovoltaic array using simulation and test the hardware within an integrated single platform. The purpose of a dynamic PV array (DPVA) is to mitigate the detrimental effects caused by partial shading. As the environmental conditions can be unpredictable over long time scales, it is generally not practical to design large arrays without the use of a simulator, however using such a simulator for the virtual realisation of a DPVA only provides ideal parameters and characteristics which are likely to translate poorly to a practical system. The system presented here integrates a simulation environment with the operation of a hardware prototype to give engineers maximum insight into the optimal system design. The proposed hardware includes a switch matrix that is capable of being configured such that it emulates four of the most sophisticated DPVA techniques known to literature (Optimized String, Irradiance Equalization, Adaptive Bank and Alternating Current) with the addition of a user controlled load allowing for the operating point to be managed throughout testing. When integrated into a single control platform, it is possible to design, test and implement a fully autonomous DPVA which has had every aspect of its operation tailored to maximise performance. By using a tool such as this, it is hoped that the remaining engineering topics regarding dynamic arrays can be quickly addressed leading to advancement of the field. We reiterate the importance of using a number of standardized tests during development phases as they can be used to evaluate different techniques and validate real world conditions.
- Dynamic Photovoltaic Arrays
- Irradiance Profiling