Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dale Dolan

Abstract

This thesis analyzes the design and performance of a photovoltaic (PV) emulator. With increasing interest in renewable energies, large amounts of money and effort are being put into research and development for photovoltaic systems. The larger interest in PV systems has increased demand for appropriate equipment with which to test PV systems.

A photovoltaic emulator is a power supply with similar current and voltage characteristics as a PV panel. This work uses an existing power supply which is manipulated via Labview to emulate a photovoltaic panel. The emulator calculates a current-voltage (I-V) curve based on the user specified parameters of panel model, irradiance and temperature. When a load change occurs, the power supply changes its current and voltage to track the calculated I-V curve, so as to mimic a solar panel. Over 250 different solar panels at varying irradiances and temperatures are able to be accurately emulated. A PV emulator provides a controlled environment that is not affected by external factors such as temperature and weather. This allows repeatable conditions on which to test PV equipment, such as inverters, and provides a controlled environment to test an overall PV system.

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